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White House-Pharma Agreement on Drug Prices Fell Through Over WH Push for $100 ‘Trump Cards’: NYT

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There’s new reporting Friday on how a potentially major deal on lowering drug prices for Americans fell through — over apparent “Trump cards” pushed for by the administration.

The New York Times reports that the major drug companies would spend billions “to address out-of-pocket consumer costs and would even pick up the bulk of the co-payments that older Americans shoulder in Medicare’s prescription drug program.”

But it apparently fell apart over what was viewed as an attempt to politically boost the president:

The breaking point, according to four people familiar with the discussions: Mark Meadows, Mr. Trump’s chief of staff, insisted the drug makers pay for $100 cash cards that would be mailed to seniors before November — “Trump Cards,” some in the industry called them…

White House officials insist they didn’t plan to emblazon the president’s name on the cards, which they envisioned sending to tens of millions of Americans to use for prescriptions… Regardless, one drug company executive said they worried about the optics of having the chief executives of the country’s leading pharmaceutical makers stand with the president in the Rose Garden as he hoisted an oversized card and gloated about helping a crucial bloc of voters.

PhRMA VP of public affairs Priscilla VanderVeer said to the Times, “We could not agree to the administration’s plan to issue one-time savings cards right before a presidential election. One-time savings cards will neither provide lasting help, nor advance the fundamental reforms necessary to help seniors better afford their medicines.”

A White House spokesperson responded to the report in a statement saying, “President Trump signed four executive orders earlier this summer. However, he did not release the final executive order on ‘most-favored nation’ drug pricing, giving drug companies a month to come up with a counterproposal. Negotiations did not produce an acceptable alternative, so the President is moving forward.”

Earlier this week the president tweeted that “Drug companies are hitting me with Fake Ads, just like sleepy Joe. Be careful! Drug prices will be reduced massively, and soon.”

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Josh Feldman is a Senior Editor at Mediaite. Email him here: [email protected] Follow him on Twitter: @feldmaniac