Drug price restrictions fell as Biden prioritizes other measures


Broad national drug price controls are unlikely to be enacted this year after President Joe Biden, facing opposition from Congress, left them out of a legislative negotiating framework for a package that includes insurance. disease, education and increased household income support.

Thursday’s announcement likely puts an end to any hope of enacting legislation allowing the federal government to negotiate, and potentially reduce, the prices of prescription drugs. But smaller measures could still be part of the package, such as provisions that target Medicare payments for biologic drugs administered at healthcare facilities.

“No one got everything they wanted, including me, but that’s the compromise,” Biden said as he announced the executive.

Medicare’s negotiation on drug prices has been a signing proposal for Biden’s allies among Congressional Democrats. But the idea has been fiercely opposed by drugmakers, whose lobbying of leading moderates has generated enough opposition that it and other price restrictions are not part of the social package, which includes the expansion of health care and health insurance, preschool education and children’s education. tax credits.

The Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America (PhRMA) industry group said a federal price negotiation bill would cause a “nuclear winter” for biotech innovation when the House of Representatives passed it in 2019. With of Republicans in charge of the Senate and the White House at that time, passage of the bill was unlikely.

But the potential for price control gained ground when Democrats won control of both houses of Congress and the presidency starting this year. Supporters of Medicare’s price negotiation have become more bullish, and Wall Street analysts believe the looming threat has suppressed the share prices of biotech and pharmaceutical companies.

Industry opposition, however, has proven too strong to be overcome by the slim Democratic majorities.

Following Thursday’s announcement, PhRMA shifted the discussion on pricing to measures that would reduce drug costs for consumers. “We continue to stand ready to work with policymakers this year to implement meaningful reforms that will reduce drug costs for patients,” the group said in a statement.

Yet some Democrats are still asking for more. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., Is reportedly working on a less ambitious drug prices bill. STAT reported that Pelosi, along with key committee chairs, is pushing for federal price negotiations on products for which patent protection granted by the Food and Drug Administration has expired – typically five years for chemical drugs and 12 for organic products.

A separate focus may be on biologics administered to Medicare patients in physician offices, for which the federal government reimburses based on average selling prices. These drugs have been viewed as a potential savings target for years through price negotiation or similar mechanisms, and the growth in spending on these drugs has only increased calls for cost containment.

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