HEALTH CARE BRIEFING: Pelosi is pushing drug prices in budget proposal


speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) Said yesterday that she is pushing for anti-drug price legislation to be included in the grand draft budget that bears most of the president Joe Bidens $ 4 trillion economic agenda for the coming months.

She criticized drug companies for the size of share buybacks and dividends in recent years, arguing that drug price cuts would not hurt R&D spending in light of new knowledge about buybacks.

The House bill would allow Medicare to negotiate drug prices and then force drug companies to lower the prices they charge private insurers or to impose heavy fines on companies. Pelosi said she wanted it to be part of a special budget bill that can pass the Senate without Republican support because it is immune to the filibuster.

“We have an exceptional opportunity to do this as we draw up this law of reconciliation,” she said on a conference call with reporters. She added that she is working with her own faction and top Senate Democrats to work out a version of the House of Representatives that can receive unified democratic support.

To fuel efforts to combat prescription pricing in Biden’s draft budget, House Oversight and Reform Committee staff yesterday released a detailed report on drug manufacturer buybacks and research and development spending. “How can you seriously say that lower drug prices for Americans will come at the expense of research and development?” Said Pelosi.

  • The committee’s report found that the top 14 pharmaceutical companies spent $ 577 billion on share buybacks and dividends from 2016 to 2020. That’s roughly $ 56 billion more than was spent on research and development, the report said. It estimates that drug pricing savings would account for less than half of the companies that will spend on buybacks and dividends over the next decade.
  • “Even if the pharmaceutical industry gets less revenue from pricing reforms like HR 3,” the report said, referring to the Democrats’ signature drug pricing plan, “companies could maintain or even exceed current R&D spending if they spend on buybacks.” reduce and dividends. “
  • Pharmaceutical companies have dispatched legions of lobbyists to thwart HR 3, arguing that doing so would hamper the development of new drugs and allow unnecessary suffering and death. “Industry documents show how pharmaceutical companies are partially exploiting the US because the law does not allow Medicare to negotiate drug prices,” said House Oversight Chair Carolyn Maloney (DN.Y.).

It is not yet clear whether the budget balancing bill will include drug price changes that were not originally part of Biden’s proposals for the American Families Plan or the American Jobs Plan that were presented to Congress in the spring. The first step in broader economic legislation is a budget resolution that the Senate budget chairman is currently working on Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.). Read more from Erik Wasson.

Biden calls for efforts to lower drug prices in the order of execution: Biden will ask his government to work with states to work out a plan to import drugs from Canada, according to the Washington Post, citing people in the administration and others familiar with the executive order, reports Charles Capel. The contract is intended to strengthen competition between hospitals and health insurance companies in order to make care more affordable. Part of the order calls for the Department of Health to come up with a plan within 45 days to deal with high prescription drug prices.

The president’s action will cause the federal government to enact new regulations on everything from airline baggage fees to non-compete clauses. He will sign the mandate after making comments on the American economy according to a public schedule published by the White House. Read more from Justin Sink.

Also happened on the hill

House Allocation Surcharges: The homeowners will resume accounting for the draft budget for labor, health and personal services 2022 on Monday. The Labor-HHS subcommittee plans to publish its bill on Sunday. The entire House Budgets Committee will mark the Labor HHS bills on Thursday.

Grijalva calls for an investigation into accommodation for children with a migrant background: MP Raúl Grijalva called for an independent investigation into a child migrant facility in Fort Bliss, Texas after a federal whistleblower complaint revealed a lack of medical supplies, clothing, showers and skilled caregivers. Grijalva also reiterated his call for such facilities to be closed permanently. “The Biden government must pursue community-based alternatives to incarceration that put the children’s well-being first,” he said.

The coronavirus pandemic

Pfizer Outlines Booster Plans As Regulators Signal Caution: Pfizer plans to apply for US emergency approval for a third booster dose of its vaccine in August based on early data showing it can greatly increase immune protection against the coronavirus. The company has received initial data from early human studies showing that a third dose is safe and can increase antibody levels ten-fold, a Pfizer official said.

At the same time, however, the federal health authorities signaled last night that they would be cautious about possible booster vaccinations, stressing that the vaccines currently available are effective in preventing people from getting sick from the coronavirus. Robert Langreth and Josh Wingrove have more.

Genetic flashpoints of the virus identified in a huge study: Throughout the entire pandemic, scientists around the world have been grappling with one crucial question: Why do some people get so sick with Covid-19 while others show no symptoms at all? A look deep into the human genome of a global initiative with more than 3,000 researchers from 25 countries now provides answers. Read more from Kristen V. Brown.

Buttigieg does not say a set date for the lifting of the travel ban: Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg said the Biden administration was not ready to relax restrictions on international travel to the US, even as it announces progress against Covid-19 in other areas, including domestic travel. “Unfortunately, it cannot be based on an arbitrary date. It has to be conditional, ”he told Bloomberg, noting that the US has working groups with the UK, Europe, Canada and Mexico. Keith Laing has more.

Trump Approved Coronavirus Killers Blocked: The Environmental Protection Agency has ordered a freeze on sales of Allied BioScience’s SurfaceWise2 product less than a year after American Airlines approved the use of the disinfectant to fight the coronavirus on some aircraft and airport facilities, reports Jennifer A. Dlouhy. The EPA said in a press release that it had directed Allied BioScience to immediately cease sales and distribution of the product due to “scientific concerns about product performance”.

Other headlines:

What You Should Know Today

Biogen limits the scope of Alzheimer’s drugs: Biogen updated the label for its new Alzheimer’s drug, Aduhelm, restricting its use to people with mild cognitive impairment or early dementia after doctors expressed confusion about who should get it. The change comes after the FDA approved Aduhelm in general for Alzheimer’s patients, not just the early-stage patients that Biogen focused on in clinical trials. Read more from Fiona Rutherford.

HHS Beats Hospitals’ Lawsuit Over Medicare Payment Formula: A group of 30+ safety net hospitals have lost their dispute against an HHS rule that sets the formula for calculating certain Medicare salary adjustments because the HHS did not act arbitrarily in adopting the measure, a federal court said. The US District Court for the District of Columbia ruled that the Department had duly recognized and explained the reasons for the change in the policy. Read more from Mary Anne Pazanowski.

Other headlines:

To contact the reporter about this story: Brandon Lee in Washington at [email protected]

To contact the editors responsible for this story: Zachary Sherwood at the [email protected]; Giuseppe Macri at the [email protected]; Michaela Ross at the [email protected]

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