Joe Biden wins, Big Pharma loses in major new bill in US

Health policy experts say the bill reflects the pharmaceutical industry’s weakening influence on the Democratic Party and that its main argument against price negotiation — that it stifles innovation — is n is more convincing to the public.

A Kaiser Family Foundation poll in October found that 83% of Americans, including 95% of Democrats and 71% of Republicans, want federal health plan Medicare for seniors to negotiate prices, a provision of the bill. .

The latest legislation is a tough pill for US pharmaceutical companies to swallow.

The latest legislation is a tough pill for US pharmaceutical companies to swallow.Credit:Ask Macheda

“The pharmaceutical guys have upped the ante by throwing everything but the kitchen sink against this,” said Sen. Ron Wyden, a Democrat who chairs the finance committee.

The powerful industry trade association, Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America (PhRMA), urged senators in a public letter to reject the bill. Its chairman, Stephen Ubl, said Politics that lawmakers who vote for it wouldn’t get “a free pass.”

“Few associations have all the tools of modern political advocacy like the PhRMA does,” he said.

A PhRMA spokesperson said the group would continue to work with all lawmakers. He did not respond to Ubl’s comments about holding lawmakers accountable.

“We may not agree on all issues, but we believe that engagement and dialogue are important to promote a policy environment that supports innovation, a highly skilled workforce and the access to life-saving medicines for patients,” spokesman Brian Newell said in an email.

The industry has long warned that price restrictions in the US market would hamper companies’ ability to invest in the development of new drugs.

With the help of industry-backed Democrats, the bill’s provision for drug price negotiations was scaled back in November, allowing Medicare to focus on an annual maximum of 20 of the country’s most expensive drugs. by 2029, instead of an initial proposal to reduce the prices of 250 drugs. treatments.

Democratic staffers, industry executives and policy experts said the bill’s wide popularity, combined with pressure on Democrats to pass meaningful legislation before the midterm elections in November, helped overcome the campaign of the pharmaceutical industry.

“With this vote, I imagine Pharma realizes that it doesn’t have many friends left among the Democrats,” said Larry Levitt, vice president of health policy at KFF.

Reuters

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