Senate Republican Backs Gov Drug Price Negotiations

Arizona Sen. Martha McSally is introducing a drug pricing bill this week that would allow Medicare to directly negotiate the prices of medicines “that are past their original patent expiration but still maintain a monopoly for that drug.” 

McSally’s move is notable as Republicans have traditionally opposed allowing government intervention in drug price negotiations. Only two House Republicans voted for House Democrats’ signature government drug price negotiation bill, H.R. 3 (116), which cleared the lower chamber late last year. 

But proponents of government negotiations shouldn’t get too excited just yet. Definitions of “original patent” and “monopoly” will be key to a better understanding of which drugs would be affected by McSally’s plan. Experts see a number of ways in which her plan looks to be weaker than House Democrats plan.

While H.R. 3 permits negotiation on drugs that lack biosimilar or generic competition regardless of whether they are protected by patents or FDA-granted marketing exclusivity, the time at which drug companies have the most leverage to keep prices high, McSally’s plan would have the government intervene at a later point.

Full Content: The Hills

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