Late last week the White House announced that the administration would no longer move forward with its proposed rule that would have ended pharmaceutical rebate safe-harbors for pharmacy benefit managers. We initially addressed the proposed rule in our alert, “The End of the PBM Rebate Safe Harbor? The Stakeholders React.”
“Based on careful analysis and thorough consideration, the President has decided to withdraw the rebate rule," said White House spokesman Judd Deere. "President Trump will consider using any and all tools to ensure that prescription drug costs will continue to decline.”
The decision follows an estimate by the Congressional Budget Office that the measure would raise federal spending by $177 billion between 2020 and 2029. In addition, advocacy groups, including the AARP, argued that the measure would likely lead to higher drug prices overall.
Various reporting on the issue also indicates that the Trump Administration has pivoted to other proposals and mechanisms to control skyrocketing drug prices, with a more direct attack on drug manufacturers. The Administration is allegedly backing off its support of the rebate rule in order to give space to bipartisan proposals currently working their way through Congress. It has also been reported that the White House may be moving forward with an Executive Order to utilize an international price index, tying U.S. government spending on physician-administered drugs to prices paid for those same drugs in other countries.