Legislators Propose Two Bills to Lower Drug Prices

Both Democrats and Republicans have introduced bills aimed to lower prescription drug prices: One would renew the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA) authority to collect “user fees” from manufacturers of prescription drugs and medical devices, while the other would speed up the process of bringing generic versions of drugs to market.

If passed, bill HR 2430, known as the FDA Reauthorization Act of 2017, would reinstate the FDA’s fee-collection authority (which expires September 30, 2017). These fees comprise nearly $2 billion of the FDA’s annual $5 billion budget. An amendment to the bill would also permit the importation of lower-cost prescription drugs from Canada, which some legislators and pharmaceutical company representatives oppose because of safety concerns.

HR 2051, the FAST Generics Act of 2017, is designed to accelerate bringing generic versions of drugs to market by offering legal recourse to the generic drug manufacturers when branded drug manufacturers attempt to delay manufacture of generic drugs by withholding drug samples or prolonging negotiations.

Both bills have been introduced in the House of Representatives, but no action has been taken as of yet.

Source: Congressional Quarterly, June 7, 2017.