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Rise and shine, everyone, another busy day is on the way. This will be an especially hectic day, in fact, thanks to a flurry of news about everyone’s favorite topic — the cost of medicines. Besides a speech from President Trump, which you can read about below, we will be quarterbacking a discussion today. So time to fire up the coffee kettle and get cracking. Here is the menu of tidbits to help you get started. Hope all goes well today and you conquer the world. And, as always, do keep in touch …

President Trump on Thursday will unveil a plan to overhaul how Medicare pays for certain drugs, attacking “foreign freeloaders” that he says have driven up costs in the U.S., Politico reports. The speech, which comes just days before the tightly contested midterm elections, follows two major drug-pricing headline wins, STAT notes. One is a proposal to force drug makers to include list prices in TV ads, and then there is a new law that bans so-called gag clauses, which prevent pharmacists from telling customers when it’s cheaper to pay cash for a drug rather than using insurance.


Ahead of the speech, the Department of Health and Human Services released a report showing the prices charged by drug makers to wholesalers and distributors in the U.S. are 1.8 times higher than in other countries for the top drugs, based on total expenditures separately paid under Medicare Part B. U.S. prices were higher for most of the drugs included in the analysis, and U.S. prices were more likely to be the highest prices paid among the countries. “Medicare was found to be paying the highest price for 19 out of the 27 drugs studied compared to these other countries. There was only a single case in which the U.S. was paying lower than the international average,” HHS Secretary Alex Azar tweeted.

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