Becerra Takes The Helm At HHS; More Visibility On Administration’s Drug Pricing Priorities To Follow
Becerra’s HHS has a new crop of former Capitol Hill staffers in its policy ranks who are well versed on legislation in the health care realm, including prescription drug pricing reform. That will help advance the Administration’s agenda.
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Some Democratic senators are not fans of FDA’s approval of Biogen/Eisai’s Aduhelm, and are even more critical of the price of the Alzheimer’s therapy. That is providing a new hook to urge action on creating a federal price ‘negotiation’ program – but not any more clarity on a viable path to enacting one.
If pharma got to choose, it would pick the bills that seek to discourage price increases instead of the ones that allow the government to negotiate drug prices or use international reference pricing. It is unclear whether any legislation will pass, but without a Republican majority in the Senate, the risk for industry has never been greater.
A decision made more than 15 years ago by CMS to require drug insurance plans to cover all drugs for six specific diseases has proven impervious to change. But will the protected classes remain if Part D is reformed more broadly?