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

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

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders and Consultant Elijah Cummings plan to introduce laws on Thursday geared toward decreasing the price of prescribed drugs for U.S. shoppers.

FILE PHOTO: A pharmacy worker seems for remedy as she works to fill a prescription whereas working at a pharmacy in New York December 23, 2009. REUTERS/Lucas Jackson (UNITED STATES

Democrats have been essential of efforts by the Trump administration to deliver down drug costs after President Donald Trump promised to take action throughout his marketing campaign and since being elected. They’ve mentioned proposals by the administration let massive drugmakers off the hook and didn’t do sufficient to assist People.

The proposed laws, which has a number of co-sponsors amongst Democrats within the Home of Representatives that they now management, and within the Republican-led Senate, is comprised of three payments that intention to curb drug prices.

“The US pays by far the very best costs on the planet for prescribed drugs,” Sanders mentioned in an announcement.

“If the pharmaceutical trade is not going to finish its greed, which is actually killing People, then we are going to finish it for them,” mentioned Sanders, an Unbiased who caucuses with Democrats.

The U.S. Division of Well being and Human Companies final 12 months rolled out a plan to decrease drug costs and has launched a number of modest proposals to curb drugs prices, however Trump has expressed frustration over continued worth hikes by drugmakers.

A number of pharmaceutical corporations quickly froze costs on choose medication final 12 months. However drugmakers raised costs on greater than 250 prescribed drugs, together with the world’s top-selling drugs, AbbVie’s (ABBV.N) Humira, to start 2019.

In response to elevated stress, nonetheless, most drugmakers ended their observe of annual double-digit share will increase of checklist costs, conserving most underneath 10 p.c.

The Sanders and Cummings invoice would peg U.S. prescription drug costs to the median worth from 5 international locations – Canada, Britain, France, Germany and Japan – the place drug prices are sometimes far decrease due to authorities worth controls.

That’s much like a proposal the Trump administration mentioned it plans to place forth within the coming months that may create an “worldwide pricing index” to assist the price of prescribed drugs to Medicare extra carefully align with different international locations. The federal government medical insurance program covers greater than 40 million older and disabled People.

The invoice would additionally permit the U.S. Secretary for Well being and Human Companies (HHS) to barter costs in Medicare Half D, a program that helps Medicare beneficiaries pay for self-administered medicines like these bought at drugstores.

The proposal would additionally finish a ban that retains People from shopping for medicines at decrease costs from Canada and different international locations.

Drugmakers have lengthy argued that worth controls in america would stifle innovation and that importing medication from different international locations is unsafe.

Additionally they say that deductions and reductions they have to pay to insurers and pharmacy profit managers (PBMs) to make sure affected person entry to their merchandise – and that aren’t handed on to shoppers – forces them to maintain checklist costs excessive. Trump administration proposals have singled out so-called middlemen like PBMs as a giant a part of the issue.

HHS Companies Secretary Alex Azar has been defending the administration’s efforts to decrease drug costs.

“(Trump) and I cannot cease our work till checklist costs go down,” Azar wrote on Twitter on Wednesday.

Reporting By Yasmeen Abutaleb; Enhancing by Invoice Berkrot

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