Clinton to limit drug price rises, his advisers say

WASHINGTON — WASHINGTON -- President-elect Bill Clinton's transition team has put the drug industry on notice that Mr. Clinton intends to limit increases in prescription drug prices as part of any plan to revamp the nation's health-care system.

Aides to Mr. Clinton met recently with drug company executives, described his ideas and invited their reaction. Details of the meeting were provided yesterday by Clinton aides and company executives.


One of Mr. Clinton's ideas is to make prescription drugs available to all Americans as part of a standard package of health benefits that employers must provide.

Another idea, part of the same plan, is to set guidelines for drug prices to ensure that they do not rise faster than other consumer prices.


In the campaign, Mr. Clinton said he wanted to impose a national limit on all health-care spending, public and private.

He said he would "stop drug price gouging" by eliminating certain tax breaks for drug companies that raise prices more than the increase in the overall Consumer Price Index.

Judith Feder, coordinator of health policy for the transition team, said yesterday that Mr. Clinton "most definitely" intends to carry out his campaign vow to slow the rise in drug prices.

In the last few days, Clinton aides have met with officers of the Pharmaceutical Manufacturers Association, the trade group.

Mr. Clinton's staff gave the executives a memorandum with descriptions of ideas for ensuring that all Americans have access to affordable prescription drugs.

In an interview yesterday, Paul E. Freiman, the drug association's chairman, said he had sought the meeting with the Clinton transition team.

"We told the incoming administration that we want to be part of the solution, not part of the problem," said Mr. Freiman, chairman of Syntex Corp. in Palo Alto, Calif.