What is the Lower Drug Costs Now Act of 2019?
H.R. 3, the Elijah E. Cummings Lower Drug Costs Now Act (cited as the Lower Drug Costs Now Act of 2019), is a bill before the House that is intended to make prescription drugs more affordable for those in the Medicare program. The bill also seeks to maintain Medicare's future viability. H.R. 3 will accomplish this by making it legal and required for the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services to negotiate drug prices in the U.S. at levels comparable to those set by pharmaceutical companies for the same drugs sold in foreign industrialized markets.
More formally, H.R. 3 has been introduced "to establish a fair price negotiation program, protect the Medicare program from excessive price increases, and establish an out-of-pocket maximum for Medicare part D enrollees, and for other purposes."
What does this bill have to do with the American pharmaceutical industry?
If H.R. 3 becomes law:
Note: Changes to the original bill were made before approval by two Committees: Specifically, Energy and Commerceintroduced a price cap for new negotiated drugs until at least two or more generic competitors exist, as well as a phased-in increase in the minimum number of drugs Medicare must negotiate from 25 to 35. Education and Labor chiefly introduced clarification of the out-of-pocket cost limit and the requirement for GAO to conduct a study on the implementation of the Fair Price Negotiation Program, etc.
What's happened in the House so far?
To date in 2019:
What happens next?
H.R. 3 will go before the full House in mid-November. The bill, having passed in each committee, is expected to receive approval by the House. However, the process will not be without conflict between progressives and moderates in the Democratic party. Disagreement over the bill with Republicans is also anticipated, given that they have a measure of their own to propose in the Senate.
More Coverage to Come:
Positions Taken by Major Stakeholders
The Lead-Up to the House Vote
The Anticipated Benefits of the Act
Published on BioSpace