June 23, 2024

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Medicare should negotiate prices for 50 drugs each year

2 min read

President Joe Biden speaks during an event at the National Institutes of Health in Bethesda, Maryland, Dec. 14, 2023.

Chris Kleponis | Bloomberg | Getty Images

President Joe Biden on Wednesday said the federal Medicare program should negotiate prices for at least 50 prescription drugs each year, up from the current target of 20 medicines. 

That’s one of several new health-care policy proposals that Biden will outline during his State of the Union address Thursday, according to a fact sheet released by the White House on Wednesday. Many of those efforts aim to expand parts of the Inflation Reduction Act that are geared toward making medicines more affordable for seniors and could take a bite out of the pharmaceutical industry’s profits.

“Medicare should not be limited to negotiating just 20 drugs per year. Instead, the President is proposing that Medicare be able to negotiate prices for the major drugs that seniors rely on, like those used for treating heart disease, cancer, and diabetes,” the fact sheet read.

Biden has made lowering U.S. drug prices a key pillar of his health-care agenda and reelection platform for 2024. But the fate of his new proposals will be in the hands of a divided Congress, making it highly uncertain whether they will pass into law. 

The president’s call to raise the number of drugs eligible for negotiations with Medicare will likely face the fiercest blowback from the pharmaceutical industry.

The Biden administration is already in a bitter legal fight with several drugmakers over the talks. The administration clinched early wins in two separate cases over the matter this year, but the industry is aiming to escalate the issue to the Supreme Court. 

The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services kicked off the negotiation process last fall when it unveiled the first 10 drugs that are subject to price talks with Medicare. The negotiations for those medications end this fall, with new prices going into effect in 2026. 

After the initial round of…



2024-03-06 17:05:19

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