Alex Azar speaks to the press. Photo Credit: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images
There are 60 percent fewer brand drug price increases than last year and 54 percent more generic and brand drug price decreases than in 2017, HHS said in a report to mark 100 days since the blueprint's release.
Two drug companies are lowering prices or have rolled back increases; 13 have committed to price freezes for the rest of 2018 and four have canceled planned price increases, the report said.
In July, the Food and Drug Administration approved a record number 126 generic drugs.
The pharma industry has responded to the blueprint not out of altruism, but because they're skating to where they know the puck is going on drug price transformation, Azar said.
Congress should take action in the months to come to preclude gag clauses which prevent pharmacists from disclosing to consumers when paying for a drug out-of-pocket is cheaper than paying their insurance copay, he said.
Pharmaceutical manufacturers, pharmacy benefit managers, and others have indicated they recognize the scale of disruption this would involve, said Dan Best, senior advisor to the Secretary for Drug Pricing Reform.
"At the time of the release of the blueprint, few observers believed that, within months, drug manufacturers would begin to change their annual ritual of significant price hikes," Best said. "Yet that is what happened in the months following."
Today marks 100 days since the release of the blueprint which outlined four strategies: increased competition, better negotiation, incentives for lowering list prices and reducing out-of-pocket costs.