U.S. senators announce bipartisan proposal to lower drug prices
WASHINGTON (Reuters) – U.S. Senate Finance Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley, a Republican, and the panel’s leading Democrat, Senator Ron Wyden, announced on Tuesday a bipartisan proposal to lower the price of prescription drugs, and said the committee would vote on legislation on Thursday.
The plan would strengthen incentives to increase negotiations between prescription drug plans and manufacturers, a finance committee statement said.
The proposal endeavors to keep drug prices down – for both Medicare patients and those in the commercial market – by forcing pharmaceutical companies to pay rebates to Medicare if they raise prices of drugs more than the rate of inflation.
Those rebates would be equal to the difference between the price increases and the inflation rate.
The senators said in a statement that the proposal would save taxpayers $85 billion from Medicare and beneficiaries $27 billion in out-of-pocket costs.
“We’ve been working on a bipartisan basis for more than six months to craft legislation that begins to address the broken prescription drug supply chain,” Grassley and Wyden said in a statement. “This legislation shows that no industry is above accountability.”
It includes a redesign of Medicare’s Part D, which covers self-administered prescription drugs, as well as changes to the program’s Part B, which covers physician-administered drugs.
The Trump administration and Democrats in the House of Representatives have been working on their own plans to lower prescription drug costs.
Reporting by Susan Cornwell; Additional reporting by Michael Erman and Carl O’Donnell in New York; Editing by Susan Thomas and Steve Orlofsky