Brown introduces bill to lower drug prices

Published 12:00 am Thursday, April 27, 2023

Medicare would be allowed to negotiate prescriptions

WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Sens. Sherrod Brown, D-Ohio, Amy Klobuchar, D-Minnesota, Peter Welch, D-Vermont, and 19 of their colleagues introduced legislation on Monday to boost Medicare’s ability to negotiate drug prices and lower prescription drug costs for consumers. 

The Strengthening Medicare and Reducing Taxpayers Prices Act would give the Department of Health and Human Services additional authority to negotiate for Medicare Part D. 

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“Prescription drugs are too expensive for too many Ohio families and they’re straining families’ budgets every month. After years of fighting opposition from Big Pharma, and the politicians who always do their lobbyists’ bidding, we finally made progress with the Inflation Reduction Act,” Brown said. “This legislation will build on those wins and lower prices at the pharmacy counter.”

This legislation builds on provisions that Brown fought to include in the Inflation Reduction Act that empowered Medicare to negotiate prescription drug prices for the first time, unleashing the power of Medicare’s 50 million seniors to help lower drug prices for all Americans. The SMART Prices Act specifically lowers drug prices by allowing Medicare negotiation one year earlier than under current law, and increasing the number of drugs that HHS can negotiate starting in 2028.

Brown has long been a leader in standing up to Big Pharma and working to lower prescription drug prices for Ohioans. Brown recently pressed for reform of Pharmacy Benefit Managers’ practices that lead to high drug prices for patients and high fees for Ohio pharmacies during a Senate Finance Committee Hearing.

Last month, Brown introduced the Lower Drug Costs for Families Act, legislation to hold Big Pharma accountable and reduce the national deficit by more than $34 billion over a decade. 

The legislation would punish drug companies for raising prescription drug prices faster than the rate of inflation.   

Last year, Brown secured a critical provision in the Inflation Reduction Act, that for the first time, will allow the Secretary of HHS to negotiate directly to lower the price of prescription drugs for Medicare beneficiaries to ensure older Americans get the best possible deal on high-cost medications. 

The legislation also includes a monthly $35 cap on out-of-pocket insulin costs for all Ohioans on Medicare who rely on insulin to stay healthy.