Lawmakers are urging the Biden Administration to provide greater information and analysis in their rush towards a drug pricing scheme that would dramatically change how the United States pays for drugs and upend the incentives that exist today for innovation and generic and biosimilar competition.
Energy and Commerce Committee Republican Leader Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-WA) and Ways and Means Committee Republican Leader Kevin Brady (R-TX) sent a letter to Secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Xavier Becerra and Administrator for the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) Chiquita Brooks-LaSure requesting the administration brief Congress and provide an updated analysis of the new drug pricing provisions in the Democrats’ reconciliation bill.
The committee leaders write:
“As lawmakers, it is our duty to understand the details of legislation that we are being asked to vote on and how it will impact people and families. Due to significant changes and rewrites that have occurred since the policies in H.R. 5376 were voted on by the House Committees on Energy & Commerce and Ways & Means, prior technical assistance that we have received from your agencies is no longer up to date or applicable to the legislation now before us. Based on our understanding, these provisions, as currently drafted, would dramatically change how the United States pays for drugs and upend the incentives that exist today for innovation and generic and biosimilar competition.”
In particular, they raise concerns and ask the administration to provide a briefing and analyses on:
Giving the Secretary unprecedented new authority to start negotiation for a drug price at $0, meaning there is no price floor for the supposed negotiation.
How many generic drugs and biosimilars would fail to come to market compared to current estimates.
How loved ones with disabilities and debilitating diseases could be devastated by the Biden administration’s implementation of this legislation.
How these provisions will raise premiums and prices for Medicare beneficiaries.
The committee leaders conclude:
“While ideally our committees would hold public hearings on such transformative legislation so that all stakeholders could understand the intended and potential unintended consequences of this proposal, it seems the Democrats intend to potentially hold a floor vote the week of the 15th. It is imperative we meet with you or your designee before such vote.”