White House Kills Rule Aimed At Ending Medicare Drug Rebates


July 11, 2019

(Reuters) – The Trump administration has withdrawn a rule aimed at eliminating pharmaceutical drug rebates from its Medicare health plans, sending shares of Cigna Corp, the largest U.S. pharmacy benefit manager, up 9 percent in pre-market Thursday trading.

Politico reported the news on Thursday and the White House confirmed the decision to Reuters.

Shares of health insurers such as UnitedHealth Group Inc and drug distributors like McKesson Corp also rose after the report, as did those of drugstore chain CVS Health Corp and Walgreens Boots Alliance Inc.

In recent weeks, Politico and other publications reported that the White House and Health and Human Secretary Alex Azar disagreed over the rule, which was in the process of finalization.

The rule would have required pharmacy benefit managers and health insurers that provide drug benefits to pass on any drug manufacturer discounts or rebates to patients or obligated them to eliminate the rebates.

“Based on careful analysis and thorough consideration, the President has decided to withdraw the rebate rule,” White House spokesman Judd Deere said in an emailed statement.

“The Trump administration is encouraged by continuing bipartisan conversations about legislation to reduce outrageous drug costs imposed on the American people, and President Trump will consider using any and all tools to ensure that prescription drug costs will continue to decline,” he said.

Reporting by Caroline Humer in New York and Ankur Banerjee in Bengaluru; Editing by Saumyadeb Chakrabarty

Our Standards:The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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