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Pharmaceuticals / Regulatory Affairs

Ways & Means Takes Testimony on Lowering Drug Prices

Feb. 20, 2019

House Democrats have launched their own bid to reform the nation’s prescription drug prices.

The Ways & Means Committee took testimony in a Feb. 12 hearing from an array of witnesses, many of whom took aim at drug companies for what they said was blatant gouging.

In his opening statement, Chairman Richard Neal (D-Mass.) said that Congress “will need to change policies and incentives in the FDA, CMS, and potentially even look in the tax code,” to address high drug prices. Neal called for a change of “incentives within the system.”

Mark Miller, executive vice president of the nonprofit foundation Arnold Ventures, called for Congress to scrap Medicare’s list pricing system and move to alternative — reference pricing, clinical value-based pricing, or binding arbitration to negotiate lower costs.

Rachel Sachs, associate professor of law at Washington University in St. Louis, suggested the committee consider external reference pricing as a method to lower drug costs through tying drug prices to a reference list of prices charged in other countries.

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