WASHINGTON, DC – Republicans and Democrats agree, Congress should act to lower the cost of prescription drugs. In fact, there have been bipartisan efforts this Congress to pass prescription drug bills to speed up the entry of generic drugs into the market as well as other collaborative efforts. Unfortunately, these efforts were upended by Speaker Pelosi when she packaged these bipartisan bills with poison pills.
Speaker Pelosi is at it again, having introduced her unworkable drug scheme with no bipartisan support. Her politics-first approach to lowering prescription drug bills ensures there will be no progress; no bills signed into law to give Americans relief at the drug store. Members of the speaker’s own party are taking notice, pleading with her to take up bills that could actually become law.
Blue Dog Dems Side With GOP, Want Votes On Low-Hanging Rx Bills
Inside Health Policy
October 9, 2019
By Rachel Cohrs
In line with House Republicans, Blue Dog Democrats on Tuesday (Oct. 8) urged House Speaker Nancy Pelosi to hold votes on several bipartisan drug pricing bills, instead of wrapping them into government price negotiation legislation that Republicans oppose.
The Blue Dog coalition called on the California Democrat to hold votes on seven individual pieces of drug pricing legislation that they say could pass the Republican-led Senate. The House already passed three of the measures, but they were coupled with partisan measures designed to shore up the Affordable Care Act’s markets. The Blue Dog Coalition also clarified that they want all the bills to be taken up separately from the drug pricing bill Pelosi is spearheading, H.R. 3.
“In this time of hyper-partisanship, the only way we can fully address real issues impacting the American people is to identify commonsense, bipartisan solutions that can be implemented into law,” said Rep. Tom O’Halleran (D-AZ), Blue Dog co-chair for policy.
House Republicans have complained about Pelosi packaging bipartisan drug pricing bills with the Affordable Care Act measures, and Energy & Commerce Republicans said they had been near a deal with Democrats before Pelosi announced her wide-ranging government drug price negotiation plan. The House Energy & Commerce and Ways & Means committees released a bipartisan draft bill outlining a plan to restructure Part D, but have not yet introduced bill text.
GOP members of the Energy & Commerce Committee decried the government drug price negotiation bill Pelosi spearheaded as derailing bipartisan progress.
“When it comes to lowering drug prices, [Pelosi] has put politics over progress before, and her drug pricing bill is just more of the same. For a second time this year, she has disrupted a chance to make real progress for the Americans who want Congress to act,” House Energy & Commerce Republicans said in a statement on Tuesday (Oct. 8).
The Blue Dog Coalition wants the House to take up the following bills, per a statement:
H.R. 965, the Creating and Restoring Equal Access to Equivalent Samples (CREATES) Act of 2019: This legislation would prohibit pharmaceutical and biologic companies from withholding drug samples necessary for generic and biosimilar development.
H.R. 1499, the Protecting Consumer Access to Generic Drugs Act of 2019: This bill would prohibit pay-for-delay agreements in which brand drug companies compensate generics to delay the entry of generic drugs into the market.
H.R. 938, the Bringing Low-cost Options and Competition while Keeping Incentives for New Generics (BLOCKING) Act of 2019: The purpose of this legislation is to reward manufacturers for challenging weak patents and bringing new generic drugs to the market by discouraging generic drugs from parking patents for an extended period of time. This legislation would start the 180-day clock once a second generic drug files their patent.
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