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Clinton unveils plan to cap monthly costs for Rx drugs

Calls for pharmaceutical companies to pay higher rebates to Medicare

Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton introduced a policy plan Tuesday that addresses the cost of prescription drugs and builds on the Affordable Care Act.

Clinton proposes to cap monthly and annual out-of-pocket costs for prescription drugs for patients suffering from chronic illnesses, reports the Associated Press. The plan would also deny tax breaks for televised direct-to-consumer advertising and mandate that drug companies that receive taxpayers' support invest in research.

Full details of the proposal will be unveiled later today in Iowa, according to Time, but other logistics include requiring pharmaceutical companies to pay higher rebates to Medicare in exchange for the federal program insuring prescriptions drugs--this, in turn, would save the program about $100 billion.

Clinton's plan, for the most part, adds onto the ACA's intent to limit total out-of-pocket medical spending to $6,600 a year for an individual, and $13,200 for a family, reports Bloomberg.

Additionally, her plan would increase competition for traditional generic versions of specialty drugs to drive down prices and offer more choices to consumers, notes the AP.

Missing from her proposal, however, is the hotly-debated topic of drug companies disclosing their pricing information, according to the National Journal. Earlier this month, Democratic presidential Bernie Sanders unveiled his Prescription Drug Affordability Act of 2015, which would require major disclosures from drugmakers about what it costs to produce their medicines and conduct research and trials, as well as the prices they charge and profits they yield for the same drug in other countries, FierceHealthPayer previously reported.

While insurers have yet to comment on Clinton's plan, Clare Krusing, spokeswoman for America's Health Insurance Plans, tells the NJ that "Cap­ping co-pays--without ad­dress­ing the un­der­ly­ing price of the drug--will drive up premi­ums and out-of-pock­et costs for con­sumers. It es­sen­tially gives drug-makers a blank check to charge whatever they want for their med­ic­a­tions."

For more:
- here's the AP article
- check out the Time piece
- read the Bloomberg story
- here's the NJ article

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Why insurers should negotiate with manufacturers for better drug prices
UPDATED: Bernie Sanders unveils bill to battle rising drug prices