facebook Could Republicans and Democrats find common ground on the need to lower drug costs?

BIG PHARMA POLITICS: Consumers pressure politicians to do something about rising drug prices. Read More

Could Republicans and Democrats find common ground on the need to lower drug costs?

As the 2020 presidential election approaches, surging prescription drug prices may finally be getting the attention they deserve.

Kaiser Health News recently reported that lawmakers are pushing several new proposals and approaches to address one of health care’s biggest concerns.

“Democrats feel as if they’re really able to experiment,” said Rachel Sachs, associate law professor at Washington University in St. Louis. At the same time, several Republican lawmakers are proposing drug-pricing reform legislation as well.

Some of the proposals include:

  • Legislation from Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) and Rep. Jan Schakowsky (D-Ill.) to allow the government to manufacture generic drugs either directly or through a private contractor. This could help when there is a shortage or not enough competition to keep prices down.
  • Legislation at the state and federal level allowing Medicare to negotiate drug prices. However, supporters vary when it comes to the type of enforcement. For example, Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio) suggests that the government could take away a company’s patent rights if it cannot reach an agreement with the government.
  • Other legislation includes penalizing price-gouging; requiring companies to price their drugs no higher than the median of what is charged in Germany, Japan, France, the United Kingdom and Canada; importing drugs from abroad; and abolishing “pay-for-delay,” which addresses the practice of branded drugmakers paying off generic drugmakers to keep out a competing product.

Polls continue to suggest that voters want to see action to lower drug prices. The Trump administration has recently taken steps to address it. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) has labeled drug pricing a top priority for the new Democratic majority, while Sen. Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.) and Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) in the Republican-controlled Senate have indicated they want to use their influence to tackle the issue, according to Kaiser Health News.

How have high drug prices affected your access to health care? What type of drug-pricing legislation would you like to see? Do you have other ideas about how to address rising health care costs? Share your story with Voices for Affordable Health.