REPRESENTATIVES OPPOSE MEDICARE WASHINGTON _ Seven democratic members of the House Energyand Commerce Committee have written a letter to chairman JohnDingell (D-Mich.) stating their opposition to a provision in PresidentClinton's Health Security Act that would give the Secretary of Healthand Human Services (HHS) authority to exclude drugs from Medicarecoverage under certain conditions.Biotechnology industry executives have argued that this provisionamounts to giving Medicare blacklisting authority for new drugs. Theprovision states that if the HHS Secretary is unable to negotiate anacceptable rebate amount with a drug manufacturer, he or she couldexclude the drug from Medicare coverage. Administration officialshave said the provision is part of an effort to keep drug costs undercontrol."From a research, as well as patient access point of view, we feel thisblacklist authority is ill-advised," the letter dated May 11 stated. Sevenrepresentatives signed the missive, which was released on Monday:Reps. Frank Pallone Jr. (D-N.J.), Marjorie Margolies-Mezvinsky (D-Pa.), Frederick Boucher (D-Va.), Richard Lehman (D-Calif.), LynnSchenk (D-Calif.), Edolphus Towns (D-N.Y.) and Thomas J. Manton(D-N.Y.). _ Lisa Piercey

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