A congressional plan to lower prescription drug prices is making good progress among House Democrats. They hope to soon finalize their version and send it over to the House Republicans for debate and review.
The Democratic draft plan from House Speaker, Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) allows government price negotiation on a long list of expensive drugs. Democrats are optimistic about their draft as it allows the Secretary of Health Human Services (HHS), to negotiate prices directly with manufacturers. The drug negotiation list would cover approximately 250 medications, including insulin. Insulin is the most expensive drug for Medicare as well as the entire U.S. health system.
Congressional Plan: More Drug Price Reductions
The negotiated prices would extend beyond Medicare to the commercial insurance market. The plan also uses President Donald Trump’s international price index proposal to set a ceiling price for any negotiated drug. And, if drug manufacturers insist on high prices, there will be stiff fines for non-compliance.
For pharma critics, the draft is a sign that a big overhaul is on its way.
Rep. Mark Pocan (D-Wis.), who co-chairs the Congressional Progressive Caucus, said he’s been told the draft is a working document and not final. More negotiation is expected before the Democratic version is sent to the Republican House members. So far, so good.
If both Democrats and Republicans can pass the bill out of the House, it will be a great win for consumers.
Big Pharma Not Happy
On the other hand, drug manufacturers are not happy. They see profits eroding as well as their businesses coming under more government regulation.
In Congress, drug companies are fighting the bipartisan Senate Finance Committee’s proposal to cap annual increases in Medicare Part D’s drug payments. They want it pegged to the inflation rate. This is opposed by most of the GOP committee members. Right now, it is still being negotiated.
In addition, the Trump Administration’s international reference pricing plan, will reduce Big Pharma’s profits as European drug prices are much lower.
At this point, the Democratic version will be reviewed by President Trump and Republican leaders.
Stand by for future developments.