Trending News Today: Pharma Braces for Trump Speech on Drug Pricing

Top news of the day from across the health care landscape.

A planned speech this week by President Donald Trump that will address the escalation of drug costs in the United States is raising concerns across the pharma industry, according to The New York Times. When he delivered the State of the Union address in January, President Trump said, “You’ll be seeing drug prices falling very substantially in the not-too-distant future…and it’s going to be beautiful,” the Times reported. However, big pharma is devoting significant funding to a lobbying campaign seeking to mitigate any serious efforts to control prescription drug costs prior to Trump outlining his drug pricing proposals. The article also expressed industry-wide concerns that Trump would go “off-script” in discussing the pharmaceutical industry.

The IRS is continuing to aggressively enforce the Affordable Care Act’s employer mandate provision, despite President Trump stating that the law was essentially dead, according to The New York Times. Although business groups have sought relief from the mandate, legislators have avoided seeking further changes to health insurance with mid-term elections looming.

The employer mandate requires many companies to offer health insurance or pay a penalty. Under the Trump administration, the IRS has sent penalty notices to more than 30,000 businesses across the United States that failed to comply with the mandate, according to the article.

The FDA is preparing to deal with a flood of retirements from senior officials, according to a report by STAT. However, the agency does have contingency plans in place to bolster its ranks among top-level staff and rank-and-file employees, according to the article. “It is the case that about 50 percent of all the people in senior roles in [the Center for Drug Evaluation and Research] right now are nearing retirement age, where they can retire with benefits,” FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb said, as reported by STAT. “We’ve been aware of that. We’ve been planning for it.”