On Tuesday, Congressional Democrats announced they had agreed on a plan to overhaul prescription drug pricing in the country.
“Fixing prescription drug prices consistently has been a top issue for Americans year after year,” Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer said at a news conference. “We’ve heard this from people across the country. . . . Today, we’ve taken a massive step forward in helping alleviate that problem.”
Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer: “I’m pleased to announce that an agreement has been reached to lower prescription drug prices for seniors and families in the Build Back Better legislation.”
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Under the deal, Medicare would be allowed to negotiate drug prices for both drugs dispensed at the pharmacy counter and those administered in doctors’ offices for drugs older than 9 years or 12 years, depending on the type of drug.
Drugmakers would have to pay penalties if they hike prices faster than inflation, including for employer-sponsored insurance plans. Seniors’ out-of-pocket costs would be capped at $2,000 per year. Insulin prices per dose will also be capped at $35.
“It’s not everything we all wanted. Many of us would have wanted to go much further, but it’s a big step in helping the American people deal with the price of drugs,” Schumer told reporters.
Schumer said the agreement had been endorsed by moderate Democrats who were against including the proposal in the Build Back Better framework that was released last week.
Sen. Kyrsten Sinema, a key holdout, endorsed the agreement.
She “welcomes a new agreement on a historic, transformative Medicare drug negotiation plan,” spokesman John LaBombard said, adding it will “reduce out-of-pocket costs for seniors — ensuring drug prices cannot rise faster than inflation — save taxpayer dollars, and protect innovation.”
“While not nearly as expansive as we had originally proposed, I’m hopeful the agreement’s new inflation rebate and out-of-pocket cap for seniors will work in tandem with Medicare’s negotiation authority to meaningfully lower prescription drug costs for Americans,” said Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Frank Pallone, Jr., a Democrat from New Jersey.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, who was pushing to allow Medicare to negotiate, said she was “pleased” with the compromise.