Biden administration goes further in lowering drug prices

The Biden administration on Thursday approved an aggressive proposal to limit the prices of prescription drugs, calling on the governmen...


The Biden administration on Thursday approved an aggressive proposal to limit the prices of prescription drugs, calling on the government to negotiate with drug manufacturers on prices and apply those prices not only to Medicare but to all drug buyers in the world. country.

The proposal, published in 29 pages white paper from the Department of Health and Human Services, included a series of recommendations aimed at fostering greater competition among drug manufacturers and improving drug affordability for Medicare patients.

The administration cannot make such significant changes on its own; this is a signal to the Democrats in Congress. Democratic leaders in Congress have hinted that they hope to regulate prices somehow as part of the $ 3.5 trillion legislative package currently being considered. The House passed a bill with similar provisions in 2019, but senators working on the package have released few political details as they grapple with their approach.

Steve Ubl, CEO of industrial business group PhRMA, called the policy an “existential risk to industry.” Large general price cuts would lead to reduced revenues for pharmaceutical companies and could hurt companies’ ability to spend on research and lead to the closure of smaller companies if investors leave the industry, he said. His group and the companies he represents have mobilized to fight against such a plan.

Regulating drug prices is a crucial part of the still-developing Democratic agenda, as it is one of the few proposed policies that could reduce, rather than increase, federal spending.

Any policy that drastically reduces drug prices has the potential to save the government a lot of money. The federal government pays for a large portion of drugs for Medicare patients and subsidizes insurance plans that purchase drugs for other Americans.

This new approach could help fund other costly priorities, such as extending Medicare benefits to cover dental care, and provide insurance coverage to uninsured persons in states that did not expand Medicaid. An approach that lowered drug prices less would leave less funding available for these other purposes.

High prescription drug prices are a major issue for consumers, an issue voters consistently identify as a major concern. Lowering their prices could be important for many American households.

But a general price control like the one approved by the White Paper could encounter both political and logistical problems. The pharmaceutical industry has long opposed government price negotiations of any kind in the United States, and some Democratic lawmakers are sensitive to concerns that price restrictions could hamper innovation and hamper future drug development. .

Democrats are also hoping to get their package through a special procedure known as budget reconciliation. This process would allow them to pass the bill without having to overcome legislative obstruction in the Senate, but it comes with a set of special rules. Price negotiations outside of the Medicare program can be difficult to achieve using this process.

While most other Western governments negotiate prices directly with companies, the United States has only done so in very limited contexts. Medicare is currently prohibited from negotiating drug prices under the law. Most commercial health plans negotiate with drug companies for discounts below their advertised prices, but their success varies depending on the type of drug and the number of choices in the market.

In general, US drug buyers pay significantly higher prices for drugs than their counterparts in other developed countries. A recent paper from the RAND Corporation cited in the government’s proposal estimates that prescription drugs in the United States cost more than 250 percent of the prices paid by other Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development countries.

The document is somewhat silent on the details of how the health secretary should negotiate or set fair prices for the drugs. But Congress will need to be more specific if it pursues such legislation. In 2019, the House passed a bill it would set price limits for certain drugs based on what other countries pay, but this bill was not taken up in the Republican-led Senate.

President Biden has identified drug prices as a healthcare priority for his administration. Thursday’s paper comes in response to a July Executive Decree calling for action on the issue. Mr. Biden also Gave a speech last month, calling for price negotiations and limits on drug price increases, another policy listed in the document. Since his presidential campaign, Biden has called on Medicare to negotiate with drugmakers on prices, but the government’s call to negotiate prices for all U.S. buyers goes beyond his campaign proposal.

Drug prices have also been a priority for President Donald J. Trump, whose Health and Human Services Department published his own plan for policies to reduce drug prices. The Trump administration offers several regulations and demonstration projects to resolve the issue, but he was unable to persuade Congress to take legislative action.

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Newsrust - US Top News: Biden administration goes further in lowering drug prices
Biden administration goes further in lowering drug prices
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