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)

Trump plan would channel prescription discounts to patients

January 31, 2019 - 5:02 pm

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Trump administration says it is moving ahead with a plan to channel behind-the-scenes prescription drug discounts directly to consumers.

Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar said Thursday his proposed regulation would encourage drugmakers, middlemen and insurers to provide any such discounts to consumers when they purchase their prescriptions.

Drugmakers don't provide discounts for all their medications, so the impact for consumers remains to be seen.

The proposal would work by doing away with an exemption from federal anti-kickback rules that now allows drugmakers, insurers and middlemen called pharmacy benefit managers to negotiate rebates among themselves.

It would be replaced with a new exemption for discounts offered directly to consumers.

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