Blister pack with dollars instead of pills One sticking point of the bill is the lack ofprovision that's been key for progressives—that federal officialsbe authorized to negotiate prices directly on at least 250 drugs.(Photo: Shutterstock)

|

It was negotiated behind closed doors, with progressiveDemocrats shut out of the process, so it's an open question howthey'll react when House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-CA, unveils herdrug pricing bill.

|

Politico reports that the agreement has leftprogressives in the dark; they fear that it will fall substantiallyshort of their goals to cut drug prices for Americans. Pelosi's goal isto get the legislation passed by Thanksgiving, but with detailsscarce it's tough to predict how successful that will be.

|

 

|

Related: Overall costs for generic drugs decline, butconsumers not seeing the savings

|

So what does the bill actually do? Although it could stillchange in committee, at present it allows the government to taxdrugmakers who refuse to negotiate on drug prices, as well as tyingthe maximum price of those drugs to what's paid for them in othercountries.

|

In addition, it caps what seniors have to pay out of pocket fortheir drugs under Medicare Part D at $2,000.

|

Most of the discussion around the legislation this week appearedto focus on technical aspects of the bill rather than substance,and those who have seen it appear to believe it will succeed.However, a number of legislators aren't happy about the process—theclose-door meetings and the push for speed.

|

And the bill does not include a provision that's been key forprogressives—that federal officials be authorized to negotiate prices directly on at least 250drugs. Instead, it set the bar far lower, at 25, with a maximum of250 per year. Neither does it allow for immediate limits on theprice of newly launched medicines, which was another progressiverequirement.

|

Progressives have already registered their objections to thefact that the bill waters down other provisions without evenattempting passage; indeed, the Congressional Progressive Caucushas characterized it as Democrats "negotiate[ing] againstthemselves" in an attempt to woo Republican support.

|

Politico adds that five CPC members, led by co-chairs MarkPocan, D-WI, and Pramila Jayapal, D-WA, wrote a public letter toPelosi in August warning that CPC members might not back the billif it does not meet their standards.

|

"Our position has not changed a millimeter," Pocan is quotedsaying in the report, adding, "I don't think anyone wants to goback home and say we're negotiating for 25 drugs. It's gotta besomething more substantive."

|

 

|

Read more: 

|

Complete your profile to continue reading and get FREE access to BenefitsPRO, part of your ALM digital membership.

  • Critical BenefitsPRO information including cutting edge post-reform success strategies, access to educational webcasts and videos, resources from industry leaders, and informative Newsletters.
  • Exclusive discounts on ALM, BenefitsPRO magazine and BenefitsPRO.com events
  • Access to other award-winning ALM websites including ThinkAdvisor.com and Law.com
NOT FOR REPRINT

© 2024 ALM Global, LLC, All Rights Reserved. Request academic re-use from www.copyright.com. All other uses, submit a request to [email protected]. For more information visit Asset & Logo Licensing.