HHS Secretary Alex Azar will be bargaining on almost 250 drugs annually if the drug price plan introduced by House speaker Nancy Pelosi gets approved. In light of the recent statements of the lawmakers at the House of Representatives, it certainly won’t be wrong to claim that the US administration might approve this bill into a law.
The lawmakers at the House of Representatives claimed although the drug price bill will need certain amendments, its overall approach is praiseworthy. The plan announced on Thursday is one of the top priorities of the Democrats and will see the light of the House floor next month.
Not only would the bill allow the HHS Secretary to negotiate on prices of 250 drugs annually but also to penalize the organisations refusing to negotiate with him. The bill would allow imposing a minimum fine of 65 percent of a drug’s gross sales from the prior year.
The fine is bound to increase by 10 points for every quarter the organization does not take part in negotiations and will continue to increase till it equals the 95 percent of drug’s gross sales.
The drug price plan has also attracted appreciation from President Trump, who has asked for a resolution on which both the parties can agree upon. This certainly would be the high chance for the US Administration to have a law changing the scenario of the drug companies “getting away with murder”, in light of the impending 2020 elections.
HHS Secretary Alex Azar’s top priority will be to reduce the prices of the drugs that prove costliest to Medicare and the broader health care system and are not available in generic or biosimilar form. These drugs will be filtered on the basis of their price and availability in the market.
The lawmakers have claimed that one of the key changes needed in the plan is to increase the amount of minimum number of drugs to be negotiated upon. They believe that if not all the drugs then the amount should be much greater than 25.
It is not for the first time that Nancy Pelosi has taken the charge of a bill to improve the health issues of the US citizens. Earlier, she supported a $4.6 billion Senate border-funding bill to better the living conditions of the migrants.
Rep. Rohit Khanna voiced his concerns in the same regard and said, “We need to expand the number of drugs, it can’t just be a minimum of 25. It needs to cover the vast majority of drugs.” Co-chairwoman of the Progressive Caucus and Rep. Pramila Jayapal expressed similar concerns when she said that having the minimum amount of drugs set for negotiation at 25 is “a big concern for us”.
Along with reducing the high prices of the drugs, it would prove a major task for HHS Secretary to prevent the crippling of life-saving medicines and the medical corporations. Further, the threat of imposing a tax of 95 percent on the selling price of the drug leaves not much choice to the medical corporations and certainly cannot be called a negotiation.