News & Views: 3/23 - 3/29

March 30, 2021

The Senate HELP Subcommittee on Primary Health and Retirement Security held a hearing on why the US continues to pay the highest prices in the world for drugs.

Led by Senator Bernie Sanders, the hearing focused on ways the Senate can help to control prescription drug prices. Legislation such as Medicare negotiation, international reference pricing, and importation were all discussed as ways to lessen the burden on patients’ costs and government spending. To read the full article, click here.

  • To watch the full hearing, click here.

Speaker Pelosi announced Medicare negotiation as apriority in upcoming legislation.

During an event to recognize the eleventh anniversary of the Affordable Care Act and the recent passage of the American Rescue Plan, Speaker Pelosi discussed upcoming legislative priorities. Among those priorities was legislation to lower prescription drug prices through Medicare negotiation. She noted that while it would be ideal to include the $450 billion in savings from Medicare negotiation in the upcoming infrastructure package, it is unlikely to appear in this next package. Republican senators have commented on Pelosi’s comment, stating that Congress should be rewarding the pharmaceutical industry’s innovation, particularly in the midst of a pandemic, rather than limiting it with price controls. To read the entire article, click here.

  • The White House announced that President Biden will provide a separate healthcare and drug pricing proposal in coming weeks. A spokesperson for the administration clarified that while this upcoming package will be solely infrastructure, President Biden is currently working on a proposal for late April. To read the full article, click here.

Congressional lawmakers wrote a letter to urge the FTC to investigate insulin price hikes.

After the FTC announced they plan to investigate pharmaceutical mergers and acquisitions, the lawmakers wrote a letter calling the FTC to do more. They specifically identify Eli Lilly, Novo Nordisk, and Sanofi as exploiting their market power to engage in shadow pricing to increase their insulin profits over the past few decades. The lawmakers requested the FTC to investigate the three companies for potential collusion and to intervene. To read the full letter, click here.

Minnesota is the most recent state to turn to state legislation to lower drug prices.

Minnesota state policymakers are looking to create an international reference pricing board that would use Canadian prices to set limits on drug prices. While nine other states have made efforts to lower drug prices in the past year, Minnesota will be the first to consider an affordability board that uses international reference pricing. To read the full article, click here.

CIDSA Experts in the News

Rachel Sachs spoke with Endpoints News on New Mexico’s proposal to import drugs from Canada. PhRMA has petitioned for the FDA to reject New Mexico’s plan due to a lack of details that prevent the FDA from properly assessing if the drugs will be safe. Sachs explained to Endpoints News that PhRMA’s petition notes that the state has not yet identified a foreign seller, “but the final rule explicitly permitted states to submit proposals without doing so, giving them six additional months to identify a Foreign Seller, after which the FDA could deny the proposal”. To read the full article, click here.

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