'Wacky' drug price system keeps costs high for patients paying for prescriptions, FDA Chief says

By | February 26, 2019

Food and Drug Administration Commissioner Scott Gottlieb in an interview Tuesday blamed high drug prices, in part, on the “wacky” system where pharmaceutical companies discount their drugs but patients don’t see those savings.

grill executives from seven drugmakers — AbbVie, AstraZeneca, Bristol-Myers Squibb, Johnson & Johnson, Merck, Pfizer and Sanofitoday at Senate Finance Committee hearing. They are sure to ask about high list prices. Drug companies say these prices are merely starting points and that few people really pay these.

Rebates are a favorite target of pharmaceutical companies, who say pharmaceutical benefit managers extract huge discounts but keep them for themselves instead of sharing the savings with patients. The PBMs say it’s drugmakers alone who set high prices.

The Trump administration has put forth a proposal that would pass an estimated $ 29 billion in rebates paid to PBMs to consumers. Gottlieb said the hope is that by removing the rebates, the administration hopes drugmakers will cut list prices for drugs.

He said there’s a possibility lawmakers will come together on legislation to address high drug prices.

“I think we’re seeing a consensus emerge in Washington for some kind of bipartisan action” he said.

Senate Finance Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, in a separate interview said there’s a “very good opportunity” for “bipartisan results and bipartisan legislation” to come out of the hearing.

Health and Science