Re­pub­li­cans re­buke Pelosi drug pric­ing bill

Unit­ed be­hind the phar­ma­ceu­ti­cal in­dus­try’s crit­i­cism of a wide-rang­ing drug pric­ing bill from House Speak­er Nan­cy Pelosi (D-CA), Re­pub­li­cans on the sub­com­mit­tee on health of the House Com­mit­tee on En­er­gy & Com­merce on Wednes­day crit­i­cized the bill at length and re­ferred to the ne­go­ti­a­tion pro­vi­sions as price con­trols.

Chair­woman An­na Es­hoo (D-CA), how­ev­er, coun­tered that the bill, known as HR 3, in­cludes many pro­vi­sions that Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump and oth­er Re­pub­li­cans have al­ready sup­port­ed. She al­so ex­plained how Re­pub­li­cans pre­vi­ous­ly sup­port­ed al­low­ing the De­part­ment of Vet­er­ans Af­fairs to ne­go­ti­ate prices of pre­scrip­tion drugs, which has re­sult­ed in sig­nif­i­cant sav­ings.

But Re­pub­li­cans held to the in­dus­try talk­ing point that any wide-scale price re­duc­tions will in­evitably de­crease in­vest­ments in phar­ma­ceu­ti­cal re­search and de­vel­op­ment in the US, and that adding a lay­er of un­cer­tain­ty could chill ear­ly-phase in­vest­ments. They al­so stressed that the penal­ties in­clud­ed in the Pelosi bill would sti­fle in­no­va­tion.

Rep. Greg Walden (R-OR) said that Trump wants to sign a bill that’ll work “but this is par­ti­san pol­i­tics at its worst.”

Mul­ti­ple Re­pub­li­cans al­so used the ex­am­ple of how the bill could set the US up for sit­u­a­tions seek in UK, which can block ac­cess to cer­tain cost­ly ther­a­peu­tics that could make a dif­fer­ence in pa­tients’ lives. Oth­ers not­ed how dif­fi­cult it could be for the De­part­ment of Health and Hu­man Ser­vices to low­er prices via com­par­isons with oth­er coun­tries.

But De­moc­rats coun­tered that the cur­rent state of phar­ma­ceu­ti­cal prices is not ac­cept­able, not­ing how the US pays sig­nif­i­cant­ly more for phar­ma­ceu­ti­cals than any oth­er coun­try in the world.

Rep. Pe­ter Welch (D-VT) said: “Do we need the gov­ern­ment to in­ter­vene or to main­tain the sta­tus quo? Con­cerns about in­no­va­tion are valid. But the con­cerns about price set­ting? My view is the price set­ting is be­ing done by the phar­ma­ceu­ti­cal in­dus­try. Egre­gious over­reach from the in­dus­try has brought us here.”

Rep. John Sar­banes (D-MD) added that the “thirst for some­thing re­al is be­gin­ning to over­whelm the in­side game that’s been played for so many years … that’s why we’re at this point – so many fam­i­lies have had enough.”

Mean­while, in the Sen­ate, Chuck Grass­ley (R-IA) is set to un­veil his own bill re­lat­ed to drug pric­ing lat­er on Wednes­day. Pre­vi­ous bills from the Sen­ate Ju­di­cia­ry Com­mit­tee were not­ed for their lack of im­pact on in­dus­try.

Hear­ing


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