Congress Weighs Efforts To Cut Generic Drug Costs
The prices of about half of generic medicines went up since last summer, and about 10 percent of them more than doubled in cost in that time, with some common medicines rising by more than 500 percent, The New York Times reports.
The New York Times:
Lawmakers Look For Ways To Provide Relief For Rising Cost Of Generic Drugs
With the prices for some common generic medicines soaring over the past 18 months, state and federal lawmakers are trying to find relief for patients struggling to pay. On Thursday, a Senate panel convened to investigate price increases for generic drugs. Separately, Senators Amy Klobuchar and John McCain will revive stalled legislation to allow some prescription imports from Canada. And Maine is testing out a hotly contested new law that allows its residents to buy drugs from overseas, flouting United States policy. One half of generic medicines went up in price between last summer and this summer; about 10 percent more than doubled in cost in that time, with some common medicines rising by over 500 percent, new data released in connection with a Congressional hearing found. (Rosenthal, 11/24)
The Wall Street Journal Pharmalot blog:
Should Generic Drug Makers Pay Medicaid Rebates Tied To Inflation?
A pair of lawmakers has introduced identical bills in the House and Senate that would require generic drug makers to pay additional rebates to state Medicaid programs for any medicine that increases in price faster than the inflation rate. The move follows a hearing last week into recent spikes in prices for some generic drugs that was held by U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.). Along with U.S. Rep. Elijah Cummings (D-Md.), he is conducting an investigation into generic pricing and they introduced the bills. (Silverman, 11/24)
Meanwhile, Bloomberg looks at how some health plans are reacting to the increasing number of high-cost drugs.
More Medicine Goes Off Limits In Drug-Price Showdown
Steve Miller is waging war on high-priced medicine, guiding decisions to ban drugs from the health plans of millions of Americans and sending companies reeling in a $270 billion market. He and his colleagues at Express Scripts Holding Co. (ESRX) say they are just getting started. Miller is chief medical officer for the company, which oversees prescription benefits for health plans and employers covering 85 million patients. Unless more is done about a wave of new and expensive drugs, some priced at as much as $50,000 a month, Miller says that health plans are going to be swamped as costs double to half a trillion dollars as soon as 2020. (Langreth, 11/25)