Last year, Congress passed and President Biden signed into law the Inflation Reduction Act (IRA), which included provisions to allow Medicare to directly negotiate the price of drugs along with other cost control measures that, taken together, represented the most sweeping and impactful drug pricing policy reform in generations. “We finally beat pharma,” the President declared.
President Biden doubled down in his State of the Union address, repeating the mantra that Americans “pay more for prescription drugs than any major country on earth” – to back up his promise to veto any effort in Congress to repeal the IRA. Given the albeit slim Democratic majority in the Senate, the odds of legislation to repeal the IRA hitting the President’s desk in the next two years are nil. But putting political rhetoric aside, the reality is that the congressional environment for pharma remains threatening on a number of fronts.
Democrats in Congress continue to see drug pricing as a winning issue. Senate Finance Committee Chairman Wyden has essentially already rejected the idea of amending the IRA to put small molecule drugs on the same timeline for negotiation as biologics. Wyden also recently sent a letter to the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services to make certain that the IRA’s inflation rebate provisions are timely and completely implemented. At the same time, as a counter balance, new House Energy and Commerce Chair McMorris Rodgers and others plan to use their oversight authorities to force transparency from Administration regarding the impact of the IRA on drug innovation and other issues.Continue Reading Drug Pricing Reform Efforts in DC: A Continuing Pill for the Biopharma Industry