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BioCommunique Article

The bill aims at lowering drug prices and has been a top priority for Chairman Chuck Grassley and Ranking Member Ron Wyden.

Senate Finance Committee Advances Drug Pricing Package

  • 2019-08-09T05:28:00.000+0000
  • Washington DC
  • Author: Laure Fabrega

On Thursday, July 25, the Senate Finance Committee advanced the Prescription Drug Pricing Reduction Act of 2019, a bill aimed at lowering drug prices with proposed changes to Medicare Part B and D, Medicaid and transparency policies, in a 19-9 vote. This is the third Senate committee to significantly act on drug pricing, following in the footsteps of the Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP) and Judiciary Committees. The legislative package has been a top priority for Chairman Chuck Grassley and Ranking Member Ron Wyden, along with the involvement of the Secretary of Health and Human Services (HHS) Alex Azar and White House Domestic Policy Council Director Joseph Grogan.

Biocom has concerns about the following policies:

  • inclusion of copay assistance programs in the ASP (Average Sales Price) calculation of provider reimbursement of Medicare Part B drugs;
  • cap on the 6 percent ASP add-on to $1,000, which fails to take into account the specialized storage, handling, and monitoring for Part B drugs;
  • increased contribution of manufacturers in the Medicare Part D catastrophic phase to 20 percent;
  • establishment of a mandatory rebate to Medicare if manufacturers increase their list price for certain Part D drugs above inflation;
  • requirement to justify prices for new drugs with a list price for a year supply or course of treatment that exceeds $10,000 (as part of the SPIKE Act); among others.