News

HEADLINES: Senate Democrats See “Major Progress” on Reconciliation With Agreement to Lower Prescription Drug Costs

By June 30, 2022No Comments

Yesterday, The Washington Post reported that Senate Democrats have finalized provisions to lower prescription drug prices. The agreement includes granting Medicare the power to negotiate drug prices, capping the out-of-pocket drug costs for seniors, and penalizing drug companies that raise prices faster than inflation. Coverage makes it clear that these provisions would reduce prescription drug costs for people all across the country.

News Stories

Washington Post: Democrats Forge Ahead On Drug Pricing. “Democratic leaders have finalized a revised proposal to lower prescription drug prices for seniors…Under the proposal, the drug negotiations are set to begin in 2023…Democrats also have preserved plans to cap seniors’ drug costs under Medicare at $2,000 each year, while penalizing companies that raise prescription prices faster than inflation….For the first time, though, Democrats newly aim to close what they see as a loophole that might have allowed future administrations to refrain from negotiating aggressively…The move is meant to ensure the government still seeks to keep drug prices down even if control of Washington changes…” [Washington Post, 6/30/22]

NBC: Senate Democrats See ‘Major Progress’ On Biden Agenda Bill, Hope For July Vote. “The emerging deal would empower Medicare to directly negotiate prescription drug prices starting next year to lower costs for consumers. It would cap out-of-pocket costs for Medicare patients at $2,000 per year and allow the cap to be broken up into monthly payments. It also would impose a new ‘inflation rebate’ policy forcing drug companies to send money back to consumers if they raise prices above inflation…the deal would add new incentives for drugmakers and insurers to limit drug price hikes, provide free vaccines for seniors, enhance premium and copay assistance for lower-income people and ensure the Department of Health and Human Services always negotiates for the maximum number of eligible drugs. And it would require negotiations to lower prices ‘if a drug company continues to block generic competition,’…Manchin’s office said Wednesday there is consensus and a path forward on drug pricing.” [NBC, 6/29/22]

STAT: Democrats Tweak Their Drug Pricing Plan In Last-Ditch Effort To Pass Reforms. “Negotiations have come a long way…Now, it’s the most solid plank of a potential deal that both Schumer and Manchin agree on. Drug pricing reform is enormously politically popular, and also would save the federal government money….The package would mandate Medicare negotiate drug prices, even if there’s an official in charge of Medicare that doesn’t support negotiation — as would likely be the case under a Republican president.” [STAT, 6/30/22]

The Hill: Senate Democrats Push Revised Drug Pricing Plan As They Prep Larger Biden Economic Package. “Lawmakers have made some revisions to a deal to lower drug prices and plan to submit it to the Senate parliamentarian in the coming days for a review…The move is a sign of Democrats’ preparations for a vote on Biden’s signature domestic policy package, which will have lowering drug prices at the center.” [The Hill, 6/30/22]

Statements

Protect Our Care: “The agreement reached by Senate Democrats to drive down prescription drug prices is a victory for the American people. Allowing Medicare to negotiate, limiting onerous price hikes, and capping seniors’ drug costs are vital to fixing the broken system that all too often forces patients to choose between paying the bills and affording the drugs they need.” [6/30/22]

Patients For Affordable Drugs Now: “For the first time, Medicare will be able to negotiate lower drug prices directly with drug corporations, penalties will be imposed on companies that raise prices faster than the rate of inflation, and there will be an annual out-of-pocket cap for beneficiaries in Medicare Part D. Each of these changes will help bring relief from unrelenting high drug prices in the United States, which run almost four times what other nations pay for the same brand-name drugs. Americans — Republicans, Democrats, and independents alike — overwhelmingly support these reforms…” [6/30/22]

AARP: “This is monumental and years in the making. For far too long, America’s seniors have been paying the highest prices in the world for their medications…Lowering prescription drug prices is the number one health issue Americans want Congress to tackle this year, and with this announcement, they are even closer to making that a reality.” [6/29/22]

Tweets

Senator Chris Murphy (D-CT): “There is no public policy more popular – or more of a clear contrast between Democrats and Republicans – than Medicare drug negotiation.” [@ChrisMurphyCT, 6/29/22]

Senator Brian Schatz (D-HI): “Reducing the cost of medicine would be a huge win for people across the country.” [@BrianSchatz, 6/29/22]

AARP Advocates: “AARP is pleased that the Senate is ready to take action on a reconciliation package that includes allowing Medicare to be able to negotiate lower prices for prescription drugs.” [@AARPAdvocates, 6/29/22]

David Mitchell, Patients For Affordable Drugs Founder: “Senate Democrats are moving on comprehensive reform to lower Rx drug prices. The votes are there to pass it under reconciliation. It will help millions of Americans. We have momentum & the overwhelming support of voters. Let’s get it done.” [@DavidP4AD, 6/29/22]