PhRMA to guard price negotiation vow

To watchers of the developing healthcare legislation, it may seem a fading detail that the drug industry agreed to provide $80 billion in savings to the government over 10 years. But the promise is front and center at PhRMA, the drug-maker lobbyist.

The Senate version of the bill excludes negotiations on Medicare drug price by the federal government, the Wall Street Journal reports, as well as billions in drug company rebates to Medicare and Medicaid enrollees.

Medicare drug price negotiations are a key factor being watched by the drug industry in healthcare legislation. The House version of the bill, in contrast to the Senate version, provides for such negotiations, the Journal says. Industry financial commitments beyond the agreed-to $80 billion "would force companies to cut jobs and end up driving critically-important research and development overseas," according to the report.

The Senate version does, however, include a several-billion-dollar annual excise tax on drug manufacturers, as well as an increase in industry rebates to the government for drugs supplied to Medicaid patients.

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