Welcome to the FiercePharma political roundup, where each Monday we’ll highlight developments in Washington, D.C., and elsewhere that could affect how drugmakers operate.
If there was a chance for bipartisan drug pricing action during the impeachment inquiry, it could be gone after President Donald Trump tweeted that House Speaker Nancy Pelosi is “incapable” of working on either pricing or the impeachment investigation. That tweet came after Pelosi said she’d still work on drug prices during the investigation. Drug pricing remains an important issue for voters, and lawmakers on both sides of the aisle have committed to working on the issue despite the intense political atmosphere. Trump's latest statement came after he called for a bipartisan solution to drug prices in September.
Nancy Pelosi just said that she is interested in lowering prescription drug prices & working on the desperately needed USMCA. She is incapable of working on either. It is just camouflage for trying to win an election through impeachment. The Do Nothing Democrats are stuck in mud!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) October 2, 2019
Also last week, Trump said at a Florida event he “wouldn’t be surprised” if pharma were behind the impeachment inquiry. It was maybe his most direct attack at the industry since saying pharma was "getting away with murder" before his inauguration. A PhRMA spokeswoman said “of course” the industry isn’t behind the investigation.
Turning to this week, Democratic presidential candidate Pete Buttigieg Monday rolled out his drug pricing plan, proposing pricing negotiations in Medicare and other changes to government payment systems. Those negotiated prices would be available for private insurance plans, as well. Buttigieg’s proposal also calls for a $200 out-of-pocket cap for Medicare patients per month.
“Through higher taxes, inflation penalties, and pricing negotiation, it compels pharmaceutical companies to price responsibly and work for—not against—the American people,” a plan outline (PDF) says.
We've reached a breaking point: Medications in the U.S. are more expensive than anywhere else in the world. That's why today I’m announcing Affordable Medicine for All, a plan to reduce Rx drug costs, take on drug companies, and encourage innovation: https://t.co/GwVXnxLYbr pic.twitter.com/zIhBLBCWqg— Pete Buttigieg (@PeteButtigieg) October 7, 2019
Outside of Washington, Nevada has fined 21 drug companies a total of $17.4 million for not complying with a new diabetes transparency law, the Nevada Independent reports. Among those fined were Apotex, Alkem, Strides and Daiichi Sankyo, Regulatory Focus reports. The companies have 30 days to pay the fine or 10 days to request a dispute resolution meeting with the state.
Even as Nevada pushes ahead with that effort, a University of Southern California study found most drug pricing laws passed in states between 2015 and 2018 won’t force the release of new information. The authors did identify seven new laws in six states—Nevada included—that will allow regulators to collect new info that wasn’t previously available.