Monday September 23, 2019
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Trump Presents Proposal To Lower The Price Of Specific Drugs

The Trump administration proposal is open for public comment for 60 days.

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- President Donald Trump says his plan will stop unfair practices that force Americans to pay much more than people in other countries for some medications — but the plan would not apply to medicines people buy at pharmacies. VOA

Less than two weeks before the midterm elections, President Donald Trump on Thursday announced a plan to lower prices for some prescription drugs, saying it would stop unfair practices that force Americans to pay much more than people in other countries for the same medications.

“We are taking aim at the global freeloading that forces American consumers to subsidize lower prices in foreign countries through higher prices in our country,” Trump said in a speech at the Department of Health and Human Services.

“Same company. Same box. Same pill. Made in the exact same location, and you would go to some countries and it would be 20 percent of the cost of what we pay,” said Trump, who predicted the plan would save Americans billions. “We’re fixing it.”

But consumers take note:

— The plan would not apply to medicines people buy at the pharmacy, just ones administered in a doctor’s office, as are many cancer medications and drugs for immune system problems. Physician-administered drugs can be very expensive, but pharmacy drugs account for the vast majority of what consumers buy.

— Don’t expect immediate rollbacks. Officials said the complex proposal could take more than a year to be put into effect.

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Protesters gather across the Chicago River from Trump Tower to rally against the repeal of the Affordable Care Act, March 24, 2017, in Chicago. VOA

In another twist, the plan is structured as an experiment through a Medicare innovation center empowered to seek savings by the Affordable Care Act. That’s the law also known as “Obamacare,” which Trump is committed to repealing.

Trump has long promised sweeping action to attack drug prices, both as president and when he was running for the White House. He made his latest announcement just ahead of the Nov. 6 elections, with health care high among voters’ concerns.

Under the plan, Medicare payment for drugs administered in doctors’ offices would gradually shift to a level based on international prices. Prices in other countries are lower because governments directly negotiate with manufacturers.

Drugmakers immediately pushed back, arguing the plan amounts to government price-setting.

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Stephen Ubl, president of the Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America, speaks during a news conference in Trenton, N.J., Sept. 18, 2017. VOA

“The administration is imposing foreign price controls from countries with socialized health care systems that deny their citizens access and discourage innovation,” Stephen Ubl, president of the Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America, said in a statement. “These proposals are to the detriment of American patients.”

Trump is linking the prices Americans complain about to one of his long-standing grievances: foreign countries the president says are taking advantage of U.S. research breakthroughs.

Drug pricing expert Peter Bach of Memorial Sloan Kettering’s Center for Health Policy and Outcomes called the plan “a pretty substantive proposal” but one that faces “serious political challenges.”

“The rhetoric about finally dealing with foreign freeloading suggests that we are going to take steps to get other countries to pay their fair share for innovation,” Bach added. But that’s “quite literally the opposite of what is being proposed. What is being proposed is that we freeload off of other countries’ ability to negotiate more effectively.”

Democratic leaders on Capitol Hill were dismissive. House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi of California said if Trump wants to save seniors money, he should seek congressional approval for Medicare to negotiate prices for its main prescription drug program, Part D. Senate Democratic leader Chuck Schumer of New York said, “It’s hard to take the Trump administration and Republicans seriously about reducing health care costs for seniors two weeks before the election.”

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Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar speaks during an interview with The Associated Press in New York, Sept. 12, 2018. VOA

The health insurance industry, at odds with drugmakers over prices, commended the administration’s action.

As an experiment, the proposal would apply to half the country. Officials said they’re seeking input on how to select the areas that will take part in the new pricing system. Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar said politics would have nothing to do with it.

In advance of Trump’s speech, HHS released a report that found U.S. prices for the top drugs administered in doctors’ offices are nearly twice as high as those in foreign countries. The list includes many cancer drugs. Medicare pays directly for them under its Part B coverage for outpatient care.

Physician-administered drugs cost Medicare $27 billion in 2016. HHS says the plan would save Medicare $17.2 billion over five years. Beneficiaries would save an estimated $3.4 billion through lower cost-sharing.

The plan could meet resistance not only from drugmakers but also from doctors, now paid a percentage of the cost of the medications they administer. However, HHS officials said the plan was designed so it would not cut into doctors’ reimbursements.

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President Donald Trump speaks at a rally endorsing the Republican ticket in Erie, Pennsylvania, VOA

Azar said more plans were being developed on drug costs.

“This is not the end of the road, the end of the journey,” he said. “There is more coming.”

Trump has harshly criticized the pharmaceutical industry, once asserting that the companies were “getting away with murder.” But it’s largely been business as usual for drugmakers even as Trump has predicted “massive” voluntary price cuts.

Also Read: Testing Of Self-Driving School Bus Halted In Florida, USA

A recent Associated Press analysis of prices for brand-name drugs found far more increases than cuts in the first seven months of this year. The analysis found 96 price hikes for every price cut. The number of increases slowed somewhat, and they were not quite as steep as in past years, the AP found.

The Trump administration proposal is open for public comment for 60 days. (VOA)

Next Story

List of Best Penny Marijuana Stocks

As interesting and profitable as marijuana stocks are, they are still mostly penny stocks, the fact that making money off of this little green plant is still considered illegal in countries

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Marijuana grows at an indoor cannabis farm in Gardena, California, Aug. 15, 2019. VOA

As interesting and profitable as marijuana stocks are, they are still mostly penny stocks. This probably has something to do with the fact that making money off of this little green plant is still considered illegal in countries like the United States.

We know some states are changing their laws, but nothing has changed federally just yet. This means investors have to deal with cash most of the time, and sometimes, they can’t take advantage of certain tax deductions. The money made from this industry cannot always be used to open a bank account.

As you can see, there are many obstacles to overcome in this industry.

Some of these factors make it even more important for potential investors to pay attention to the penny stocks they do take a chance on. The following is a list of some of the best penny stocks available today.

1. InMed Pharmaceuticals Inc

When it comes to drug development and commercialization, there are only a few companies that can be compared to this company.

InMed Pharmaceuticals Inc. focuses on Cannabinoids, and they have invested a lot of time and effort into developing the therapeutic aspects of marijuana.

One thing the company is pretty proud of is the bioinformatics assessment tool. This tool allows technicians to figure out if a specific cannabinoid could address certain ailments.

The possibilities with this kind of targeted treatment are endless, which is attracting a number of investors around the globe.

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There is also the Aleafia Health stock that focuses on growing
and promoting medical cannabis clinics all around the US. Pixabay

At the moment, it seems like the company has made significant progress towards dealing with Epidermolysis bullosa, glaucoma, and it has also been working hard to address joint and muscle pains.

2. American Cannabis Company Inc.

The American Cannabis Company Inc. is considered the go-to company for entrepreneurs in the United States who are attempting to get into the business of selling marijuana.

Everyone knows that the business is setting itself up for a major boom in the coming years, even though it is already quite profitable.

This company understands that entrepreneurs don't always understand everything there is to know about cannabis, such as marketing it and navigating the current environment surrounding marijuana sales.

The American Cannabis Company Inc. is here to provide counsel, thanks to years of experience in the industry. It is here to provide marketing tools, branding information, and even help with staffing if needed.

Those interested in one of the best penny marijuana stocks out there should definitely pay close attention to this stock.

3. Auxly Cannabis Group

The Auxly Cannabis Group is an important company to watch out for. It is considered a cannabis royalty company, and the reason investors should keep an eye on it is because it is focused on helping growers start or expand their capacity.

If the marijuana industry is set to explode as more countries accept its usage, then there is going to be a need for growers who can provide.

Of course, the company does not only help other growers; it has also purchased its own farms as well.

marijuana, penny stocks, stocks, USA, investment
As interesting and profitable as marijuana stocks are, they are still mostly penny stocks. Pixabay

Projections say that these farms may end up producing up to 170,000 kilograms of marijuana in 2019 and the following year. Those kind of numbers have instilled the kind of faith any company wants to instill in possible investors.

4. Plus Products Inc.

Edibles are going to be an important part of the marijuana industry. These little things are fun, and people are loving them. At the moment, Plus Products Inc. is considered one of the fastest growing edible companies.

It continues to produce the kind of edibles that people want, hitting great numbers. Some of their best-selling edibles have seen great staying power and fend off competition.

It is safe to say that this company is putting a lot of work into the products they produce to make sure customers are happy.

It is currently selling its edibles in California, and that means the rest of the country is ripe for the picking, which means the potential for growth is undeniable.

ALSO READ: Daily Cannabis Use May Increase Risk of Psychosis

Plus Products Inc. is actually developing an even bigger facility that is going to be able to handle even more orders. It is safe to say that the company is foreseeing a huge spike in demand within the coming months or few short years. Investors interested in the the long game should definitely give this stock a try.

Of course, these are just some of the stocks that investors should keep an eye on, but there are more, such as MariMed Inc. that is more of an all-in-one consulting firm helping dispensaries and other players in the industry. There is also the Aleafia Health stock that focuses on growing and promoting medical cannabis clinics all around the US.

As mentioned earlier, the key here is to make sure each investor pays attention to each stock and what the company is attempting to do. We think one should only invest in a stock when the investor feels he or she can make an informed decision.