Health chief exploring more actions on high drug prices

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Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Alex Azar says his department is working on additional proposals aimed at high drug prices, including some that could be enacted without congressional action.

In an interview with WTHR in Indianapolis on Tuesday, Azar pointed to the proposals to Congress on drug pricing that the administration made in its budget this month, but also said the department is working on other proposals that might not need congressional approval.

“We look forward to working with Congress to get those proposals enacted and we’re continuing to work with more proposals that we’ll move forward with on our own authority if we’re able,” Azar said, according to WTHR.

{mosads}The administration is moving forward on its own with drug pricing proposals that would raise the chances for some action this year, given that it is always tough for Congress to pass controversial drug pricing measures, especially in an election year.

President Trump has repeatedly attacked high drug prices and called for action, but advocates have faulted the administration for taking relatively little action so far.

The proposals in the budget this month were greeted as some small steps forward, but were largely seen as not dramatic changes and did not take direct aim at drug companies’ prices.

The budget proposals included a cap on out-of-pocket spending for enrollees in Medicare’s prescription drug program and allowing up to five states to join together to negotiate drug prices for Medicaid.

It is not clear which additional actions are being considered by the administration.

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