June 25, 2021
Senate Finance Committee Chair Ron Wyden's (D-OR) proposal to reduce prescription drug prices includes enabling Medicare negotiation with pharmaceutical companies and applying those prices to employer health plans.
The proposal is a starting point to reignite negotiations on drug pricing. Previous efforts to address rising drug costs in the U.S. through legislation like Speaker Pelosi’s drug pricing bill, H.R 3, have stalled as Republicans and separately, a group of moderate Democrats, raised concerns over the impact of government negotiations on innovation.
The principles include:
Outlook: The proposal offers few specifics on how these principles will be implemented. Specifically, it provides no direction on how Medicare will negotiate prices, highlighting the minimal agreement in Washington, even between Democratic lawmakers, on how to implement drug pricing negotiations. Separately, Senator Bernie Sanders has stated he will be drafting a budget resolution which includes direct government price negotiations and an expansion of Medicare to cover dental, hearing and vision benefits.