Democrats Lobby for Price Transparency as Senate Continues User Fee Debates

April 10, 2017

Democrats grilled industry representatives on drug pricing at a Senate health committee hearing on reauthorizing the FDA’s user fee programs.

Committee members called for more transparency on the effects of discounts and coupons on pricing and for more details on industry interactions with pharmacy benefit managers and other payers. Industry representatives said they’d be happy to be part of that conversation going forward.

Representatives from BIO, the Association for Accessible Medicines, AdvaMed and the Alliance for Aging Research testified in support of the proposed reauthorization plans, but expressed concern over the limited time left for Congress to act. The committee hopes to move the user fee reauthorization to the Senate floor by the end of April; it has a September deadline for passage.

Committee members also expressed concern over the Trump administration’s hiring freeze and whether the FDA would be allowed to spend collected fees on hiring new reviewers. Committee chairman Sen. Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.) said that, if FDA commissioner nominee Scott Gottlieb is confirmed, his first order of business will be working with the White House to begin user fee hiring.

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