Azar Commits to HHS Efforts on Drug Prices, Opioids in Budget Hearing

March 19, 2019

HHS Secretary Alex Azar defended the administration’s fiscal 2020 budget proposal before a House Appropriations Committee subcommittee last week, citing “difficult choices” but underscoring the administration’s commitment to containing drug prices and tackling the opioid crisis.

The budget proposes $87.1 billion in discretionary budget authority for HHS, approximately $8 billion less than FY 2019’s $95.4 billion request. “Staying within the caps set by Congress has required difficult choices that I’m sure many will find hard to countenance,” he said.

Azar said the proposed budget looks to continue the fight against high prescription drug prices and out-of-pocket costs for beneficiaries. It also proposes a “robust biosimilars agenda” that aims to strengthen the generics market while stopping drug companies from delaying generics from market. And it includes a plan to ensure state and federal programs receive proper rebates.

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