Moderate Democrats Push for Bipartisan Drug Pricing Reform

On May 3, a group of 10 moderate Democrats sent a letter to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi pushing for bipartisan drug pricing reform. The letter, signed by Representatives Scott Peters (D-CA) and Jake Auchincloss (D-MA) questioned whether Ms. Pelosi’s existing drug pricing bill, H.R. 3, which would allow Medicare to negotiate pricing and fine pharmaceutical companies for noncompliance, has enough support to be passed.

While the representatives who signed the letter did not state that they would vote against H.R. 3, they called for reform that has “buy-in from a majority of Americans and stakeholders in the public and private sectors.” The pharmaceutical industry claims that Medicare’s ability to negotiate prices would have a negative impact on life sciences innovation.

“[Drug pricing reform must] preserve our invaluable innovation ecosystem so that it can continue to prevent and treat disease,” the letter read, adding that Congress should work with the industry to strategize “ways to better serve patients in an efficient and affordable fashion with an eye toward improving health equity.”

In response, a spokesperson for Ms. Pelosi said, “[lowering prices is] overwhelmingly supported by Democrats, Republicans, and Independents alike,” and that if passed, H.R. 3 would “protect genuine innovation into new cures while stopping Big Pharma from charging Americans outrageous prices on medicines that were discovered decades ago.”

Sources: STAT, May 11, 2021; Letter to Speaker Pelosi, May 3, 2021.