Sen. Sanders, Rep. Cummings to introduce bill to lower U.S. drug prices




  • In US
  • 2019-01-10 11:37:25Z
  • By By Yasmeen Abutaleb

By Yasmeen Abutaleb

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders and Representative Elijah Cummings plan to introduce legislation on Thursday aimed at lowering the cost of prescription drugs for U.S. consumers.

Democrats have been critical of efforts by the Trump administration to bring down drug prices after President Donald Trump promised to do so during his campaign and since being elected. They have said proposals by the administration let big drugmakers off the hook and did not do enough to help Americans.

The proposed legislation, which has several co-sponsors among Democrats in the House of Representatives that they now control, and in the Republican-led Senate, is comprised of three bills that aim to curb drug costs.

"The United States pays by far the highest prices in the world for prescription drugs," Sanders said in a statement.

"If the pharmaceutical industry will not end its greed, which is literally killing Americans, then we will end it for them," said Sanders, an Independent who caucuses with Democrats.

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services last year rolled out a plan to lower drug prices and has introduced several modest proposals to curb medicine costs, but Trump has expressed frustration over continued price hikes by drugmakers.

Several pharmaceutical companies temporarily froze prices on select drugs last year. But drugmakers raised prices on more than 250 prescription drugs, including the world's top-selling medicine, AbbVie's <ABBV.N> Humira, to begin 2019.

In response to increased pressure, however, most drugmakers ended their practice of annual double-digit percentage increases of list prices, keeping most under 10 percent.

The Sanders and Cummings bill would peg U.S. prescription drug prices to the median price from five countries - Canada, Britain, France, Germany and Japan - where drug costs are typically far lower because of government price controls.

That is similar to a proposal the Trump administration said it plans to put forth in the coming months that would create an "international pricing index" to help the cost of prescription drugs to Medicare more closely align with other countries. The government health insurance program covers more than 40 million older and disabled Americans.

The bill would also allow the U.S. Secretary for Health and Human Services (HHS) to negotiate prices in Medicare Part D, a program that helps Medicare beneficiaries pay for self-administered medicines like those purchased at drugstores.

The proposal would also end a ban that keeps Americans from buying medicines at lower prices from Canada and other countries.

Drugmakers have long argued that price controls in the United States would stifle innovation and that importing drugs from other countries is unsafe.

They also say that rebates and discounts they must pay to insurers and pharmacy benefit managers (PBMs) to ensure patient access to their products - and that are not passed on to consumers - forces them to keep list prices high. Trump administration proposals have singled out so-called middlemen like PBMs as a big part of the problem.

HHS Services Secretary Alex Azar has been defending the administration's efforts to lower drug prices.

"(Trump) and I will not stop our work until list prices go down," Azar wrote on Twitter on Wednesday.


(Reporting By Yasmeen Abutaleb; Editing by Bill Berkrot)

COMMENTS

More Related News

Trump
Trump's border wall money may come at expense of schools for military kids
  • US
  • 2019-03-20 20:01:47Z

The U.S. Department of Defense is proposing to pay for President Donald Trump's much-debated border wall by shifting funds away from projects that include $1.2 billion for schools, childcare centers and other facilities for military children, according to a list it has provided to lawmakers. The Pentagon gave Congress a list on Monday that included $12.8 billion of construction projects for which it said funds could be redirected. The move comes as a surprise given the Trump administration's oft-touted support for the sacrifices made by military families and suggests the White House's desire to build a wall on the border with Mexico outstrips nearly all other issues.

Trump: Mueller report
Trump: Mueller report 'ridiculous' but should be released

"Let it come out, let people see it," Trump told reporters as he left the White House on Wednesday for a trip to Ohio. Mueller is expected to present a report to the Justice Department any day now outlining the findings of his nearly two-year investigation into Russian election meddling, possible

Warren backs congressional plan for reparations study
Warren backs congressional plan for reparations study

JACKSON, Miss. (AP) - Democratic presidential candidate Elizabeth Warren on Monday embraced a congressional proposal to study a framework for reparations to African-Americans hurt by the legacy of slavery as the best way to begin a "national, full-blown conversation" on the issue.

Poll: Half of Americans say Trump is victim of a 'witch hunt' as trust in Mueller erodes
Poll: Half of Americans say Trump is victim of a 'witch hunt' as trust in Mueller erodes

As the Russia report seems near, a USA TODAY/Suffolk poll finds half of Americans agree Trump is the victim of a "witch hunt," and trust in Mueller erodes.

Jim Carrey
Jim Carrey's Grief Over New Zealand Turns To Anger Against Trump

Carrey's new artwork shows Trump's head, with an angry, soulless expressionand a Nazi swastika on the forehead, as a blazing asteroid streaking towardEarth

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked with *

Cancel reply

Comments

Top News: US

facebook
Hit "Like"
Don't miss any important news
Thanks, you don't need to show me this anymore.