Senate MP approves most of Dems drug price controls

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Senate MP narrowed down Democrats’ plan to curb drug prices but left it largely unscathed on Saturday, Democrats said as party leaders prepared to cut their drugs. vast economic account across the room.

Elizabeth MacDonough, the chamber’s arbitrator, said provisions should be removed that would force drug manufacturers to pay discounts if their prices rise above inflation for products they sell to private insurers. Pharmaceutical companies would have to pay those fines if their prices for drugs purchased by Medicare go too high.

Other restrictions on rising pharmaceutical costs remained, including letting Medicare negotiate the cost of the drugs it buys, capping seniors’ out-of-pocket expenses and providing free vaccines.

“This is a great victory for the American people,” Senate Leader Chuck Schumer, DN.Y., said in a statement. “While there was an unfortunate ruling that the inflation discount is more limited, the overall program remains intact and we are one step closer to finally engaging Big Pharma and lowering Rx drug prices for millions of Americans.”

The MP’s decision came after a 10-day period in which Democrats revived key strands of President Joe Biden’s domestic agenda after appearing to be dead. In quick deals with the Democrats’ two most unpredictable senators: West Virginia’s first conservative Joe Manchinthen The centrist Kyrsten Sinema from Arizona — Schumer put together a broad package to address climate change, energy, health care costs, and even deficit reduction, all against the backdrop of this fall’s congressional elections.

The removal of drug manufacturers’ fines for raising private insurer prices was a clear setback for Democrats. The decision reduces incentives for drug companies to cap their rates, increasing costs for patients.

It will also reduce the $288 billion in 10-year savings that Democrats estimated total drug restrictions would deliver — perhaps by tens of billions of dollars, analysts have said.

Still, the MP’s ruling left Democrats in a position to promote drug supplies as a boon to consumers at a time when voters are outraged by the worst inflation in four decades.

Senate Finance Committee Chair Ron Wyden, D-Ore., said that while he was “disappointed” at the removal of penalties for higher drug prices for privately insured consumers, “the legislation nevertheless exerts significant control over wealth. of Big Pharma to manipulate prices.”

Schumer planned to begin voting in the Senate on the general bill later Saturday. The measure has met unanimous Republican opposition, but with the support of Manchin and Sinema, Democrats should be able to get the measure through the 50-50 Senate, thanks to the casting vote of Vice President Kamala Harris.

House passage could come if that room returns briefly from recess on Friday.

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