The bill would lower drug prices by empowering the Secretary of HHS to negotiate directly with manufacturers to set prices for Medicare beneficiaries. In addition to Medicare negotiation, the bill will cap out-of-pocket spending on prescription drugs and require manufacturers to pay fines for unsupported price hikes greater than the rate of inflation. When H.R. 3 was introduced to last Congress, CBO estimated that the bill would save the federal government $456 billion over ten years. CBO also estimated $42 billion in savings for the Medicare program due to improved health outcomes because of increased access to lower priced drugs. The House Committee on Energy and Commerce is schedule to hold a legislative hearing on H.R.3 on May 4. To read more on H.R. 3, click here.
The Republican bill, H.R. 19, does not have any significant changes from its introduction in 2019. While the bill includes some minor bipartisan provisions, it does not include any large savings measures, such as inflation rebates. Many patient advocacy groups have issued letters highlighting how the GOP’s plan prioritizes the pharmaceutical industry’s profits over making a purposeful effort to lower costs for patients. To read more on H.R. 19, click here.
Status reports filed by 340B providers stated that HHS has appointed new members for the dispute panel after removing the members appointed by the Trump administration. HHS also announced that they are considering “additional optioned for agency enforcement of the 340B statute” according to the status report. Lobbying groups on behalf of 340B providers are continuing to urge Secretary Becerra to work quickly, as manufacturers continue to deny discounts in the meantime. To read more, click here.
The Supreme Court ruled against the FTC, so that while they can stop anticompetitive conduct, they are no longer able to require companies to payback illegal profits. The case was not directly concerning the pharmaceutical industry; however, they are expected to be the most impacted industry from the ruling. To read the Court’s opinion, click here.