The push in Congress to drive down U.S. prescription drug costs has taken a backseat to all things COVID-19, but that reprieve for drug companies may be about to end as freshman members of the House urge their leaders to include drug pricing proposals in the next coronavirus relief bill.
Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Alex Azar was peppered with questions about the Trump administration’s budget proposal for fiscal 2021 during a Feb. 13 Senate hearing. However, another theme that resonated during the hearing was Senate legislation addressing drug prices. Azar addressed the issue of price caps, while noting that the bill “leaves plenty of room” for both ample profit margins and innovation in drug development.
A lot of U.S. lawmakers are seeing dollar signs – 345 billion of them, to be exact. That's how much the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) is estimating could be saved in direct federal spending on Medicare Part D prescription drugs from 2023 through 2029 if H.R. 3, the Lower Drug Costs Now Act, was passed.