Last week President Biden made an attempt to restart efforts to reduce prescription drug prices. In a trip to Culpepper, Va., Biden said, “The idea you can charge whatever you want is just not going to happen in the United States of America if I have anything to do with it.”
Biden has struggled to rally Congressional support, including members of his own party, around legislation that would allow Medicare to negotiate drug prices and fine companies when they raise drug prices s above inflation rates.
In his speech Biden said, “This is the United States of America, for God's sake. That’s just wrong,” he said after describing certain drugs’ costs. “Especially since it doesn't cost the drug companies nearly, nearly, nearly, nearly as much to make the drug or the research that went into them.”
Drug price reduction legislation is part of a large bill called “Build Back Better,” which also contain many other legislative items that are part of Biden’s agenda.
However, new momentum seems tough amid Democrats’ divides over the best course of action and the fading chance that the Build Back Better Act will get passed this year.
Lawmakers have historically splintered over how broad government negotiations should be, what to do with pricey new medicines and how to regulate annual cost increases. Those aren’t just details — the pharmaceutical industry insists that changes in this area could kill expensive new innovations because of revenue drops and it has mounted a massive lobbying effort costing millions of dollars to kill drug price reduction efforts.
Supporters of drug price reduction have countered by pointing out that most new drugs are not developed by the big drug companies and that government already funds a significant portion of new drug research.
TSCL continues to support all efforts to reduce drug prices, including allowing Medicare to negotiate with the drug companies for lower prices. Pulling the Medicare negotiation piece out of the larger bill and passing it separately is one way to solve the current dilemma and we encourage Congress to consider it.