Biden Might Find Common Ground With GOP On Drug Pricing
Read about the biggest pharmaceutical developments and pricing stories from the past week in KHN's Prescription Drug Watch roundup.
Crain's Chicago Business:
Biden Brings Drug Price Worries For Big Pharma
Divided government in Washington threatens much of President-elect Joe Biden's legislative agenda, but prescription drug pricing is a rare area where he might find common ground with a Republican-controlled Senate. With federal policymakers under immense pressure to rein in rising drug costs, a desire to control the price of medications crosses party lines. But the pharmaceutical industry fiercely opposes such reforms, arguing that lower prices would stifle innovation. That argument carries more weight at a time when drugmakers are winning plaudits for developing desperately needed COVID-19 treatments and vaccines. (Goldberg, 11/23)
Democrats Were United On Top Issues This Congress — But Will It Hold?
Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) and House Democrats will enter the next Congress with a slighter majority — and less cushion to absorb defections — as they eye an ambitious legislative agenda featuring a host of hot-button issues, from climate change to immigration. Republicans have already flipped 11 seats this cycle, netting eight with several more expected, according to a tally by The New York Times. That leaves Democrats facing the prospect of controlling just 222 seats in the lower chamber next year — the smallest House majority in decades — and GOP leaders are practically salivating at the chance to block the Democrats' legislative wish list just as President-elect Joe Biden steps into the White House. (lillis, 11/29)
Florida, Companies Wrangle Over Opioid Profits
Cardinal Health, one of the country’s major drug distributors, is fighting Florida’s attempt to glean how much profit the company has made distributing pain medications, as the state tries to recoup money spent combating opioid addiction and overdoses. The wrangling over Cardinal’s profits comes in a lawsuit, filed more than two years ago by the Florida attorney general’s office, seeking unspecified damages against drug manufacturers, retailers and distributors. The case is one of myriad similar legal challenges throughout the country about the devastation wrought by opioids such as oxycodone. (Kam, 12/1)
Tampa Rep. To Hold Pharmacy Benefit Managers Accountable
Tampa Rep. Jackie Toledo says she will soon refile a version of her 2020 proposed legislation that intends to lower prescription drug prices by holding pharmacy benefit managers (PBMs) more accountable. PBMs are third party companies that serve as intermediaries between drug companies and insurance companies. They pool money from contracted pharmacies to gain purchasing power, then negotiate rates and rebates with the pharmaceutical companies. Their business agreements have raised questions about pricing transparency and state legislators, like Toledo, have been pushing to regulate PBMs in recent years. (Perry, 11/30)
Fate Of Manufacturer Prescription Drug Discounts Hinges On State Lawmakers
Thousands of Massachusetts residents risk losing access to discounts on vital prescription drugs by the end of this year without action from state lawmakers, a coalition of patient advocacy groups warned Tuesday. The Patients for Prescription Access Coalition urged the six-member fiscal 2021 Budget Conference Committee to extend a law that allows people with chronic conditions to afford medications needed to manage their illnesses. (Szaniszlo, 11/26)
How To Lower Your Prescription Drug Costs
Lowering the cost of your prescription drugs can save you a lot of money. Amazon opened an online pharmacy last week that allows customers to order medication or prescription refills, and have them delivered to their front door in a couple of days. However, there are other ways to cut costs even further. (Ehling, 11/24)