The House passed Pelosi's drug pricing bill, but don't expect it to become law

An image of Nancy Pelosi standing at a podium wearing a red blazer.
The House of Representatives has passed speaker Nancy Pelosi's drug pricing bill, but the legislation has a tough road ahead. (Getty images/Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

House Democrats passed Speaker Nancy Pelosi's drug pricing bill in a mostly party-line vote Thursday—but that could be the last of its successes. 

Still, Democrats can tell voters on the 2020 campaign trail that they worked to rein in U.S. drug prices, and there's no doubt the drug industry stands in the crosshairs heading into the election year.

Pelosi's bill, which proposes Medicare pricing negotiations, an internal price index, fines for drugmakers who won't negotiate and more, passed the House by a 230-192 vote. The bill now goes to the Republican-controlled Senate, where many believe it doesn't stand a chance.


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Even if senators sign off on the bill, President Donald Trump has said he'll veto the legislation, according to reports. Drugmakers have been lobbying hard against the measure, claiming it would stifle innovation, cut the number of drug approvals and generally hamstring the industry.

Instead, the White House and some senators have been touting a bill out of the Senate Finance Committee that proposes simplifying Medicare and more transparency for pharma middlemen, among other ideas. Of course, the pharma industry favors that bill much more than the Pelosi proposal, which one analyst has written would be a "nuclear winter" for the industry.

RELATED: Pelosi's plan a 'nuclear winter' for pharma, analyst says

Pelosi unveiled her plan this fall, but it's faced intense opposition from Republicans and the drug industry. Analysts have said some of the ideas—price negotiations and the international price index—are "non-starters" for Republicans. But as CNN points out, with the vote, Democrats can say they made an attempt at lowering drug prices on next year's campaign trail. 

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