U.S. drug makers promise to spend $80 billion over the next decade to help close the so-called "doughnut hole" in Medicare's drug coverage, the White House announced Monday.
Under the deal, drug companies will pay part of the cost of prescription drugs for lower- and middle-income Medicare recipients, the Associated Press reported. Currently, beneficiaries have to pay the full cost of prescriptions after their initial coverage ends but before they qualify for catastrophic coverage.
The pact should lead to at least a 50 percent discount on prescription drugs for some Medicare recipients, according to the president.
"This is a significant breakthrough on the road to health-care reform, one that will make a difference in the lives of many older Americans," Obama said, the AP reported.