Health-care expert: Trump has shown 'encouraging signs' on reforming drug prices

Health-care expert Ceci Connolly on Wednesday said that the Trump administration has shown "encouraging signs" in working with pharmaceutical companies to reform drug prices. 

“We’re starting to see a couple of little encouraging signs out of the Trump administration. There’s a lot more to go here, but at least we’re seeing some baby steps," Connolly, president and CEO of the Alliance of Community Health Plans (ACHP), said to Hill.TV's Krystal Ball on "Rising."

“Very recently, we saw the Trump administration announce that within Medicare, health plans such as our nonprofit community health plans will not be able to use some techniques that they use in what’s called commercial markets," she continued. 

"So they’ll be able to do what’s called step therapy, where a doctor will sit with a patient and say, ‘you have this illness. There are a lot of different medications available. Let’s start you on an affordable one and see how you do and work up,' " she said. 

Connolly also said "step therapy" would remove an incentive for doctors in hospitals to make a profit off of drugs administered to patients by allowing health plans to encourage doctors to look at more affordable drugs. 

“There’s also been very recent that the administration is finalizing a rule that will direct drug companies to start posting their prices on commercials," she said. 

Connolly discussed the issue in an op-ed for The Hill earlier this month.

President TrumpDonald John TrumpSunday shows preview: Trump sells U.N. reorganizing and Kavanaugh allegations dominate Ex-Trump staffer out at CNN amid “false and defamatory accusations” Democrats opposed to Pelosi lack challenger to topple her MORE earlier this year unveiled his plan for lowering drug prices. 

The plan does not go after drug companies directly but takes aim at "middlemen" that negotiate prices, known as pharmacy benefit managers, who have often faced criticism for a lack of transparency.

ACHP is an organization that brings together health plans and provider groups.

— Julia Manchester