WASHINGTON — The Trump administration has proposed modest steps this year to promote biosimilar and generic medications, but each proposal has been met with staunch opposition from nearly all corners of the health care industry.
The proposals are small and wonky: Under one, bonuses for insurers would be partially determined based on how often they encourage patients to use generic drugs; under another, insurers would be able to push patients toward lower-cost medicines by creating a new “tier” of medicines in their plan designs. And yet these proposals were lambasted in recent comments filed with the federal government as risky, inappropriate, and counterproductive.
The goal of both policies is to promote the uptake of generics and biosimilars, the generic-like versions of the cutting-edge drugs made from living cells. They’re also seemingly commonsense ways to lower drug prices — not to mention, they’re far less controversial than other proposals, like Democrats’ idea to allow Medicare to negotiate with drug makers, or the Trump administration’s idea to end the system of drug rebates. But in recently filed comments with the federal government, insurers, pharmacists, branded drug makers and patient advocates almost universally criticized the proposals.