Drug principles endorsed

May 1, 2000

Pharmaceutical Representative

President Clinton received and endorsed a set of "Prescription Drug Principles" from Senate Democratic Leader Tom Daschle (D-SD), which will be used by the Senate Democratic Caucus to evaluate any Medicare prescription drug benefit proposal developed in Congress. The principles state that any drug benefit should be: voluntary, accessible to all beneficiaries, designed to provide meaningful protection and bargaining power for seniors, affordable for all beneficiaries and for the program, administered using competitive purchasing techniques and consistent with broader Medicare reform.

President Clinton received and endorsed a set of "Prescription Drug Principles" from Senate Democratic Leader Tom Daschle (D-SD), which will be used by the Senate Democratic Caucus to evaluate any Medicare prescription drug benefit proposal developed in Congress. The principles state that any drug benefit should be: voluntary, accessible to all beneficiaries, designed to provide meaningful protection and bargaining power for seniors, affordable for all beneficiaries and for the program, administered using competitive purchasing techniques and consistent with broader Medicare reform.

"The Senate Democrats have come today to say that they are together on principles for a voluntary Medicare prescription drug benefit – something so many seniors need and far too few have," said President Clinton during a speech on the South Grounds of the White House. "There have been a lot of proposals on the table, a lot of good ideas. Today, we are moving forward together by uniting around common principles, setting standards that any prescription drug plan should meet. That is a significant step, moving us forward toward the day when every older American has the choice of affordable prescription drugs."

Though the Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America said it agreed with the principles, the group said it did not support the president's approach to Medicare reform. "Those are very general principles which we don't disagree with," said PhRMA spokesman Jeff Trewhitt. "But having said that, if in fact senate minority leader Tom Daschle is supporting the president's Medicare proposal, we do have serious reservations."

Trewhitt said PhRMA instead supports Medicare reforms involving more choice for Medicare recipients. Said Trewhitt, "We think there needs to be a transition away from predominant government control over the provision of healthcare under Medicare to much greater reliance on the diverse competitive health plans in the marketplace to come up with new coverage programs, and then let the Medicare recipients choose." PR

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