Executive Order Would Tie U.S. Drug Prices to What Other Countries Pay

September 15, 2020

On September 13, President Trump signed an executive order (EO) aiming to address high prescription drug prices by tying payments for certain Medicare drugs to the costs the treatments sell for outside the United States (U.S.). According to the EO, prices for provider-administered drugs would be linked to a "most-favored-nation price" drawn from the lowest price among countries that have a similar per-capita gross domestic product.

The EO grants authority to the Secretary of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) to implement a demonstration project to test a “most favored nation” policy for some drugs or biologicals under Medicare Part B or Part D. The details of the demonstration are unclear, but it could begin more quickly than the typical rulemaking process.

The Association for Clinical Oncology (ASCO) is also concerned about the escalating price of prescription drug treatments—particularly cancer therapies. However, as the economic crisis in the U.S. deepens, ASCO believes it is critical that any solution to this complex problem be thoroughly tested before it is implemented to ensure it does not impede patient access to care or stifle innovation in drug development.

ASCO is concerned about the impact that a hastily developed demonstration will have on patient access to critical therapies and urges HHS to engage with stakeholders and reconsider this demonstration during the COVID-19 public health emergency that is currently straining practices and patients.  Additionally, the Association will oppose any effort to subject practices to a mandatory demonstration project. ASCO will be closely watching the effort to implement this policy and weighing in at every step. 

Bookmark ASCO in Action for updates related to the EO and other efforts to address the high cost of prescription drugs.