Pharma & drug development

Sky high: should US drugs prices fall in line with the rest of the world?

Democrat politicians in the US Congress have thrown their weight behind new bill HR3, otherwise known as the Lower Drug Costs Now Act, which proposes that Medicare set drug prices based on international prices. This could save US taxpayers $345bn over seven years, but would have huge ramifications for the global pharma industry. Abi Millar looks into what the legislation could mean.

In September, US Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi unveiled her plan to curb soaring drug prices. Called HR3, or the Lower Drugs Costs Now Act, the bill is backed by a number of Democrats. It has also received a heavy backlash, from politicians and industry alike.

According to Republicans on the House Energy and Commerce Committee, who held the first hearing on the bill, Speaker Pelosi was “pushing a socialist proposal to appease her most extreme members”. The Republican congressman Rep Kevin Brady called the idea “a dictate or destroy price control power that will halt valuable research into new life-saving medicines”. And Stephen Ubl, president of the industry association PhRMA, described the plans as “blowing up the entire healthcare system”.

These are serious charges for a plan that revolves around saving the taxpayers money. Estimates suggest the proposal would save them $345bn over a seven-year period, by bringing Medicare drug prices in line with those in the rest of the world. The government would be able to negotiate prices for as many as 250 drugs, based on an index of what other developed countries pay. Pharma companies that didn’t comply would be heavily fined.

Read the rest of this article at Pharma Technology Focus

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