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Drugs in bottles The plan stops short of supporting the use of “march-in rights” that progressives argue empower the government to pull patent rights from a drug it considers to be too expensive. (Photo: Shutterstock)

The federal government would be able to directly negotiate the cost of pharmaceuticals under a plan announced last week by the Department of Health and Human Services. Under the proposal, the government would directly negotiate prices for drugs in Medicare parts B and D, with those prices also being available to private insurance plans and any employers who want to participate.

The plan, part of a $3.5 trillion reconciliation proposal, mirrors a range of legislative options that both House and Senate lawmakers have floated in recent years, “Politico” reported. These include capping out-of-pocket costs in Medicare Part D; limiting how quickly pharmaceutical companies can hike prices on existing drugs; and banning so-called pay-for-delay agreements aimed at blocking generic competition to brand-name drugs.

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