Democrats in the Senate are working to pass legislation that would make it easier for pharmaceutical companies to bring new, high-priced drugs onto the market. On Wednesday, Democratic Senators Joe Donnelly (Indiana), Heidi Heitkamp (North Dakota), and Joe Manchin III (West Virginia) announced they would support a bill authored by Republican Senator Lamar Alexander of Tennessee that is backed by big pharma, which has spent $106 million on lobbying so far this year—almost double what it spent at this point last year.
The article discusses how Democrats are joining Republicans to back legislation backed by big pharma despite the fact that there is no evidence to show these bills will help patients or lower drug prices. In fact, the legislation that Democrats are supporting even includes a provision that would strip the US Patent and Trademark Office’s authority to stop drug companies from obtaining patents for drugs that don’t offer any significant advance over what is already available – thus allowing drug companies to “evergreen” their product and prevent generic competitors form entering the market.
After mentioning that the legislation would strip the US Patent and Trademark Office’s authority in determining patentability, the article discusses how this provision even gives drug companies greater power to prevent competition by not allowing generic versions of their drugs back onto the market after they’ve gone off patent.
The article goes on to discuss how Democrats are supporting another bill sponsored by Republican Senator John Cornyn of Texas, which would require drug companies to pay higher rebates to the government when they sell drugs through Medicare Part D. The article discusses how such a provision might incentivize big pharma to lower the price of their drugs and decrease costs for patients – however Democrats aren’t supporting this legislation because Republicans have said that this bill would be a “poison pill,” which will prevent any legislation from passing the Senate.
The article finishes with how despite the fact that Democrats are supporting Big Pharma bills, most Americans side with Democrats on drug pricing issues and oppose ObamaCare repeal. The article also discusses how Republicans may face consequences in 2018 for supporting such industry-friendly bills given the power of the anti-establishment wave.
If you’d like to read about how Democrats are siding with Republicans on drug pricing issues, click here.
If you’d like to read more articles discussing pharmaceutical industry trends and news, click here.
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Jacob Silverman is a staff writer at Truth Pharm. He received his B.A. from George Washington University in 2018 where he studied International Affairs and English Literature as well as Musical Theatre. He is passionate about social justice and strives to highlight the positive impact that politics, policy, and grassroots organizing can have in creating a better future for all people. His writing has been published on TruthPaste, TheHill.com, TheHumanistReport.com, Medium, Elite Daily, Mic a media company), and Teen Vogue. He is a monthly contributor to the Political Gabfest podcast and has been featured on PoliticKing with Larry King.
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