New PhRMA ads say yea or nay to laundry list of Medicare drug proposals

Calculator that says "Medicare" on it on top of money, next to bottle of pills
A pharma lobbying group has launched an ad campaign that weighs in on proposed changes to Medicare. (Getty Images/liveslow)

Big Pharma is taking on Medicare—the Trump administration's proposed changes to its drug benefits, that is.

A new PhRMA ad campaign outlines the industry view on what’s good and what’s not among those Medicare Part B and D changes. What gets a thumbs down? Things like Trump's international pricing index and nixing no-questions-asked coverage of "protected" drug classes.

On the other hand, PhRMA gives a thumbs up to overhauling Medicare Part D rebates. The administration has proposed replacing rebates paid to PBMs with discounts for seniors at the pharmacy counter.

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RELATED: As drug prices took daily fire last year, PhRMA racked up a record lobbying bill

Called “Prescription for Medicare,” PhRMA's print ad features two senior citizens: one on the left side of the ad, where PhRMA lays out the “wrong prescription,” and the other on the right side with the “right prescription.”

“This new campaign will drive a discussion about how we can productively make changes to Medicare that help the patients who depend on its coverage to access and afford their medicines,” said Juliet Johnson, deputy VP of public affairs at PhRMA, in a blog post last week.

RELATED: Expensive pills on the bill? PhRMA takes aim at hospitals in drug pricing campaign

With the Trump administration's drug pricing proposals and a raft of new bills in Congress—plus Capitol Hill Q&As with pharma CEOs who brought their own ideas—there's no shortage of ideas for reining in drug prices. And in response, we've seen a miniboom in lawmaker-targeted ads from a wide variety of healthcare industry groups.

Besides PhRMA's advertising, the Pharmaceutical Care Management Association has launched work in support of its pharmacy benefits manager companies, for instance. More than 50 advocacy groups co-signed a newspaper ad campaign that attacked the proposed Medicare Part D changes to the six protected drug classes. That ad was questioned by Kaiser Health News in an article that revealed more than half of the patient group co-signers receive funding from pharma companies.

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