$3.5 Trillion Proposal by Senate Democrats Includes Drug Pricing Provisions to Offset Spending

A $3.5 trillion draft package framework recently proposed by Senate Democrats includes several drug pricing provisions intended to help offset the costs of initiatives on clean energy, expanded safety net programs, early childhood tax credits, and more.

These policies include a repeal of a Trump administration initiative to eliminate rebates pharmacy benefit managers and insurers use to negotiate down drug prices; expanding Medicare to include vision, dental, and hearing benefits; and providing coverage to low-income individuals in states that have opted not to expand Medicaid.

PhRMA released a statement in opposition of the proposal. “This isn’t about lowering costs for prescription drugs. The real goal of this budget is to upend Medicare to help pay for Tesla tax credits and other government programs at seniors’ expense,” said Debra DeShong, executive vice president of public affairs at PhRMA.

Senate Democrats have not finalized most details of the policies, and it’s not yet clear whether the package will have sufficient support from key lawmakers. A spokesperson for Sen. Bob Menendez (D-NJ) said he is still waiting for further information before taking a stance.

“All these things are very important, but we have to pay for all this,” said Sen. Joe Manchin (D-WV).

Source: STAT, July 14, 2021.