Join Now

Impeachment Could Complicate Drug Pricing Agenda

September 27, 2019 in Life Sciences News by Denise Bell

The recent launch of a House impeachment inquiry is likely to throw a wrench into efforts to reach a deal in Congress on drug pricing legislation before the end of the year. Meanwhile, President Trump is pushing his own drug pricing proposals through regulation and executive order, including tying drug prices to an international price index and drug importation, and may roll out a larger healthcare plan in the near future. An article in Politico, notes that the Administration officials are talking up an aggressive agenda.

Even before the inquiry was announced, Democrats and Republicans were divided over how to address high drug prices, with Democrats pushing for Medicare negotiations on drug prices, and Republicans opposed to heavy-handed government price controls. Now, the “I” word has further complicated both the politics and policy around the drug pricing issue as time is also running out on the legislative calendar. While the end game is hard to predict, both sides are likely to continue to try to advance their proposals to demonstrate their commitment to bringing down drug prices in advance of the elections.

This week, House Democrats held hearings on their aggressive drug pricing plan, the Lower Drug Costs Now Act, H.R. 3, in the House Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Health, as well as the House Education and Labor Subcommittee on Health, Employment, Labor and Pensions. Markups of the bill are expected next month.

On Wednesday, the Senate Finance Committee released the legislative text of its drug pricing bill, the Prescription Drug Pricing Reduction Act, which includes an inflation rebate price control mechanism opposed by drug manufacturers. Both House and Senate measures also include significant reforms to Medicare Part B and Part D prescription drug programs.