FILE- In this Oct. 26, 2018, file photo Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar speaks about proposed reforms to Medicare Part B drug pricing policies at the Brookings Institute in Washington. The Trump administration says it is moving ahead with a plan to let patients directly receive prescription drug discounts negotiated behind-the-scenes between drugmakers, middlemen, and insurers. Azar said Thursday, Jan. 31, 2019, the proposed regulation would encourage the major industry players to channel any such discounts to consumers when they purchase their prescriptions. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon, File)

Prescription discounts channeled to patients in Trump plan

January 31, 2019 - 11:50 pm

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Trump administration has unveiled a plan to channel now-hidden prescription drug rebates directly to patients, saying it would bypass middlemen and lower prices for consumers.

The proposed regulation from Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar would eliminate behind-the-scenes discounts among drugmakers, insurers and go-betweens and instead require that they be paid directly to consumers when they buy their medications.

The idea is to do away with a hidden cost seen as contributing to artificially high list prices for prescription drugs. The proposal was co-authored with the Health and Human Services inspector general's office.

The plan unveiled Thursday comes as President Donald Trump is under political pressure to deliver results on his repeated promises to slash prescription drug costs.

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