Will This Be The Year Congressional Democrats Rein In High Drug Costs?
Read about the biggest pharmaceutical developments and pricing stories from the past week in KHN's Prescription Drug Watch roundup.
Democrats Plan Crackdown On Rising Drug Costs
Democrats are hoping 2021 will be the year they accomplish their long-held goal of reining in rising prescription drug costs by allowing the government to negotiate directly with pharmaceutical companies. The proposal is largely opposed by Republicans and loathed by the pharmaceutical industry, but Democrats think they have a chance of getting it done with control of the White House and Congress. Price negotiations could be included later this year in a reconciliation bill, a fast-track budgetary move that only needs 51 votes to pass the Senate and can’t be filibustered. (Hellmann, 2/21)
States Seek To Import Lower Drug Prices From Canada
For years, former President Trump threatened to use foreign prices as a cap for what Americans should pay for drugs. Now that he’s left office without implementing the controversial proposal, states are picking up where his administration left off. An array of lawmakers in Hawaii, North Dakota, Maine, Oklahoma, and other states are hoping they can make a version of the Trump administration plan, which focused on Medicare prices, work at the state level. Unlike that proposal and a similar bill from Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), however, several of the state efforts could potentially become law in 2021. (Facher, 2/18)
McKnight's Senior Living:
Nursing Care Prices Increase 3.3% In January, But Spending Down 7.8%
National health spending on nursing care dropped 7.8% in 2020 compared with the previous year, according to a health sector economic indicator brief released Friday by nonprofit research and consulting group Altarum. The decline was second only to that in dental services, which dropped 15.2% from 2019. The greatest increase was in home health care, which grew by 6%. (Novotney, 2/23)
Becker's Hospital Review:
Most, Least Expensive US Cities For Prescription Drugs
New York City patients pay 24 percent more than the national average for prescription medications, making it the most expensive city for prescription drugs, according to a list published Feb. 19 by prescription discount service GoodRx. To compile its list, GoodRx examined the prices of the 500 most common prescriptions in 30 of the country's most populous cities. (Adams, 2/22)
Hide-And-Seek Can Lead To Higher Drug Prices
Pharmaceutical manufacturers and national authorities often negotiate secret rebates when determining drug prices. A new study shows that these rebate systems may hamper patient access to drugs. In the medium term, this practice can even lead to increasing drug prices. (2/17)