Pandemic Has Changed Public Opinion About Pharmaceutical Companies
Read about the biggest pharmaceutical developments and pricing stories from the past week in KHN's Prescription Drug Watch roundup.
The Philadelphia Inquirer:
Prescription-Drug Prices Keep Rising In The Pandemic. Yet Public Opinion Of The Pharma Industry Is Soaring Too.
Prior to the coronavirus pandemic, tackling the high cost of prescription medication was a rare unifying cause for Republicans and Democrats. The Trump administration ordered price information in television commercials and set the stage for importing medications from countries where they are cheaper. But some of the most meaningful changes, such as allowing Medicare to negotiate prices, were put on hold while Congress dealt with the more pressing issue of COVID-19. ... But the last year has also led to an unprecedented rise in positive public opinion of the pharmaceutical industry. Once the villains of stories about unaffordable drugs, pharmaceutical companies are now the heroes teaming up to deliver lifesaving coronavirus vaccines. (Gantz, 3/18)
Bernie Sanders Making Plans To Push Prescription Drug Reforms Through Reconciliation
Sen. Bernie Sanders, an independent from Vermont and the chairman of the Senate Budget Committee, is set to unveil a trio of bills designed to lower the cost of prescription drugs and give American consumers access to the competitive global drug market. On Tuesday, Sanders will introduce the three bills ahead of a hearing in a Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions subcommittee that Sanders also chairs. One bill is designed to index the price of popular drugs according the global market. A second will give Medicare the opportunity to pay for drugs through a competitive bidding process, and the third would allow Americans to buy drugs at cheaper prices from foreign sellers. The policy proposals are very similar to ones Sanders has previously championed as a senator and as a Democratic Presidential candidate. (Nobles, 3/22)
CBS 4 Denver:
Governor Would Appoint A Board To Set Prescription Drug Prices Under A Bill At The State Capitol
Prescription drug prices in Colorado could soon be controlled by a five person board. A bill by Senators Sonya Jacquez Lewis and Julie Gonzalez would create a Prescription Drug Affordability Review Board. It would start with 12 drugs the first year, and for each one, come up with a maximum purchase price. No one would pay more than that price for that drug. The lower the price, the lower the co-pay. (Boyd, 3/17)
Beshear Signs Bill To Cap Out-Of-Pocket Insulin Costs
Kentucky Gov. Andy Beshear signed legislation Monday to make insulin more affordable, calling it a “game changer" for many people in a state with one of the nation's highest diabetes rates. The bill will limit the cost of insulin to $30 per 30-day supply for many Kentuckians. The cap applies to people with state-regulated health care plans or plans purchased on the marketplace exchange, state employees and people under group plans, the governor's office said. (Schreiner, 3/22)
Bossier Press-Tribune (Louisiana):
Senate Passes Two Pieces Of Cassidy Legislation To Lower Prescription Costs
The U.S. Senate unanimously passed two pieces of bipartisan legislation, the Advancing Education on Biosimilars Act and the Ensuring Innovation Act, introduced by U.S. Senators Bill Cassidy, MD (R-LA) aimed at lowering prescription drug costs. “These two pieces of legislation passed the Senate with unanimous support. The Advancing Education on Biosimilars Act and the Ensuring Innovation Act both work to lower the price patients pay for their prescriptions,” said Dr. Cassidy. “Increasing competition decreases the price you pay for your prescriptions.” (3/11)