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Regulatory Focus™ > News Articles > 2019 > 10 > Pelosi Drug Pricing Bill Advances on Party-Line Votes

Pelosi Drug Pricing Bill Advances on Party-Line Votes

Posted 18 October 2019 | By Zachary Brennan 

Pelosi Drug Pricing Bill Advances on Party-Line Votes

Two House committees on Thursday advanced on party-line votes Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s (D-CA) bill to allow for the negotiation of certain medicine prices as part of plans to bring down costs in the US.

No major amendments were adopted in either the Energy & Commerce or the Education & Labor committees’ meetings, although the amendments in the E&C meeting ranged from carving out specific disease treatments from negotiations to requiring the Health and Human Services Secretary to certify that the bill will not reduce the number of new drug applications to renaming the bill after a Pelosi aide. Democrats said that they would rename the bill after Rep. Elijah Cummings (D-MD), who passed away on Thursday and who frequently targeted drug price gouging as chairman of the House Oversight Committee.

It remains to be seen if the contentious Pelosi bill will pass muster with Republicans in the House or Senate. Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-IA) has been working on and advancing his own drug pricing bill.

Rep. Michael Burgess (R-TX) said in the E&C hearing that Pelosi’s bill is “headed nowhere” and “will never become law.” Other Republicans noted process concerns and they said the CBO score shows that life-saving treatments could be lost because of a decrease in research and development funds for biopharmaceutical companies.

Democrats, meanwhile, praised the CBO score during the E&C hearing as it found hundreds of billions in savings from the negotiations.

Rep. Anna Eshoo (D-CA) called the savings “jaw-dropping” and pledged to use them for Medicare beneficiaries, the National Institutes of Health and the Food and Drug Administration.

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