WASHINGTON — President Trump will deliver a speech Thursday afternoon at the Department of Health and Human Services, two administration officials tell STAT.

The exact details of his remarks are still unclear, but an array of lobbyists and experts told STAT the focus would be on high prescription drug costs.

The remarks come on the heels of two major drug pricing wins for the administration. HHS unveiled a proposed regulation last week that would require drug companies to include prices in their TV ads, and earlier in October, Trump signed into law a bill banning gag clauses, which prevent pharmacists from telling customers when it’s cheaper to pay cash for a drug rather than using insurance.

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The Trump administration unveiled a broad template for tackling drug pricing in May, and has been filling in details ever since. Some of those steps, like speeding up the Food and Drug Administration’s approval process or giving private insurers more negotiating power in Medicare, are already in process. Other ideas, like making other countries pay more for drugs, haven’t been touched.

Industry is still nervously awaiting the administration to unveil a rule expected to upend the drug rebate system. HHS officials sent that rule to the Office of Management and Budget for review in July, according to typical regulatory procedure, but it has languished in that review process since. Multiple lobbyists speculated the Thursday speech could be used to unveil that proposal.

The Trump administration has also been cavalier about surprises, and several sources speculated that Trump’s announcement could deal with the prices other countries pay for drugs.

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  • The inference from recent Trump and Azar comments that if we could just get other countries to pay more for patent-protected Rx drugs that somehow that would lower US prices is laughable. This is either extremely naive or is a cynical and deceptive attempt to help raise pharma company profits while appearing to be doing the opposite.

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