FiercePharmaPolitics—Yet another poll finds Americans favor drug pricing action. Will lawmakers respond?

Drug prices
A new survey found nearly 8 in 10 Americans believe pharmaceuticals cost too much. (Getty/Tero Vesalainen)

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. 

It’s another week, and another poll shows voters support drug pricing action. Nearly 8 in 10 Americans say drug costs are unreasonable, the Kaiser Family Foundation found in a survey.  

The results come as House Democrats move forward with their aggressive bill and as the Trump administration distances itself from the House plan. Last week, a spokesman said the White House instead favors a Senate proposal that focuses on Medicare reforms and drug price transparency.

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While lawmakers considered the plans last week, two specific drug pricing measures made headlines. 

The Trump administration has had challenges making its prices-in-TV-ads idea a reality, but the effort got some new help from a Democrat. On the Senate floor, Sen. Richard Durbin called for a vote on the issue, RAPS reports. Previously, drugmakers sued the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) over its push to force prices in ads, and a federal judge blocked the effort.  

On importation, an idea the drug industry has vehemently opposed, the Trump administration said the White House Office of Management and Budget is reviewing a proposal from HHS, S&P Global Market Intelligence reports. After HHS put out its proposal in July, drug companies pushed back hard by arguing imports could compromise safety.

Before importation, the Trump administration was focused on taking on drug rebates. The Congressional Budget Office found the proposal would be costly, however. 

And as gridlock dominates in Washington, lawmakers in Massachusetts are weighing eliminating insurance deductibles for insulins and setting a co-pay cap at $25 per month, The Boston Globe reports. It’d be a pilot program focused only on insulins at first, but the Globe reports the full pricing reform proposal contains a Medicaid negotiation element, a proposal to license pharmacy benefit managers and more. 

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