FiercePharmaPolitics—States still exploring drug pricing despite congressional gridlock

United States map atlas
States around the country are exploring various drug pricing proposals even as legislation has stalled in Congress, Deloitte found. (Pixabay)

Drug pricing legislation hasn’t gained any steam in Congress lately, but legislatures in dozens of states are chugging ahead.

States nationwide are advancing bills focused on numerous topics, a new analysis from Deloitte found. Legislation to regulate pharmacy benefit managers is the most common, the experts found, while many states have passed—or are considering—measures such as transparency requirements for price increases, importation, value-based contracting and more.

Overall, Deloitte found that state legislation targeting drug price transparency and PBMs—not importation or other measures—is affecting companies the most right now. Some companies are exploring automating their drug price reporting in response to transparency bills. The analysts also see a continued shift to value-based contracting unfolding.

As for importation, safety and supply chain concerns have slowed down the effect of those measures, Deloitte found. It's unclear how those proposals will affect business models going forward.

Meanwhile, in Congress, lawmakers are prepping their preferred drug pricing legislation in case they’re able to get measures included in COVID-19 relief bills or spending packages, Politico reports.  

Some Republicans are backing H.R. 19, which calls for an out-of-pocket cap in Medicare Part D but doesn’t propose price hike limits or Medicare negotiations. The American Action Network spent $4 million on an ad supporting the measure in more than a dozen Republican districts, according to Politico.  

The legislation won’t meet Democrats’ desires, Politico reports, so for now only limited legislation is advancing, according to the publication. Those measures touch on an orphan drug loophole, changes to generic labeling and Medicare coverage for drugs for kidney transplant patients.

RELATED: Grassley's bipartisan drug pricing push in limbo as lawmakers stop negotiating

Lastly, amid the COVID-19 response, Sens. Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders blasted the Trump administration for giving Gilead Sciences a "windfall" by purchasing almost all of its remdesivir supply for the coming months at a high price, CNBC reports. The government's move to buy up remdesivir supplies will give the company up to $500 million in revenue, they wrote in a letter. Gilead is charging “American health insurers the highest prices in the world,” the senators wrote.