About Congress’ New Drug Pricing Legislation: Brainstorm Health

September 19, 2019, 10:48 PM UTC

Responding to widespread outrage, in the midst of an election season, lawmakers are proposing a whole bunch of initiatives to crack down on high prescription drug prices in America.

The latest additions to the debate (none of which are necessarily expected to pass) include an earlier plan from Republican Sen. Chuck Grassley and a bill introduced by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and House Democrats on Thursday.

It is extremely difficult to suss out any particular legislation’s chances in such a heated political environment, and especially on a heated personal issue like health care. Democrats and Republicans alike have expressed plenty of antipathy against the drug industry over its pricing practices. Getting everyone on the same page is far more difficult.

The House Democrats’ newly proposed bill is reportedly dead on arrival in the Senate (it would include direct drug price negotiations by the federal government that would extend to, not just Medicare beneficiaries, but health care purchasers at large). Currently, drug makers have carte blanche to set their list prices in the U.S.

And then comes the twist. GOP Senators, including Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, have been pushing back on the plan and even dubbed it DOA.

But President Donald Trump, a consistent, yet strategically mercurial, critic of the pharma industry, has some opinions of his own: “Because of my Administration, drug prices are down for the first time in almost 50 years — but the American people need Congress to help. I like Sen. Grassley’s drug pricing bill very much, and it’s great to see Speaker Pelosi’s bill today. Let’s get it done in a bipartisan way!” he wrote in a tweet on Thursday.

Read on for the day’s news.

Sy Mukherjee, @the_sy_guy, sayak.mukherjee@fortune.com


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