Bipartisan Prescription Drug Pricing Bill Introduced in House
WASHINGTON – This week, U.S. Rep. Bruce Westerman (R-Ark.) joined U.S. Rep. Jan Schakowsky (D-Ill.), a Senior Chief Deputy Whip and Chair of the Energy and Commerce Consumer Protection and Commerce Subcommittee, to introduce H.R. 3379, the Price Relief, Innovation, and Competition for Essential Drugs (PRICED) Act. The PRICED Act reduces the exclusivity period for biologics from 12 years to five years, allowing generic versions to enter the marketplace sooner and increase competition. Fifteen other original cosponsors joined Schakowsky and Westerman.
“The PRICED Act would be critical in making prescription drugs more affordable, which is why I included its provisions in the Fair Care Act,” Westerman said. “There’s no reason that drug manufacturers should hold a monopoly on certain drugs for 12 years, when other companies could be making generic versions at a lower consumer cost. I'm grateful to join Rep. Schakowsky's work on this issue – we’re proof that health care solutions can and should be bipartisan.”
“Drug pricing isn’t a partisan issue and taking on the Big Pharma monopoly shouldn’t be either. I am proud to be joined by Congressman Westerman to introduce the PRICED Act, which will make prescription drugs more affordable and accessible for Americans across the nation,” Schakowsky said. “We fought hard to establish lower biologics exclusivity when we passed the ACA in 2010, but unfortunately established twelve years of exclusivity that has allowed biologics manufacturers to enjoy billions of dollars in profits and no competition. That is unacceptable for American taxpayers who fund the majority of research that develops these drugs and who need these drugs to survive. I will fight to finally pass the PRICED Act in the 116th Congress.”
This Congress marks the first time that the legislation is bipartisan in the House of Representatives. Schakowsky previously introduced the bicameral PRICED Act in the 114th and 115th Congresses with U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio) and former U.S. Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.), to reduce the biologics exclusivity period enjoys from 12 to seven years.
In 2017, all of the top 10 highest-expenditure drugs in Medicare Part B were biologic products, amounting to more than $10 billion. That same year, the Obama Administration Office of Management and Budget estimated that reducing the exclusivity from 12 to seven years could save almost $7 billion over 10 years. Reducing the exclusivity period to five years would save even more money, and aligns biologics with the traditional period guaranteed under the Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS) and with the exclusivity period for small-molecule drugs.
On Tuesday, authors from the Program On Regulation, Therapeutics, And Law (PORTAL), Division of Pharmacoepidemiology and Pharmacoeconomics, Department of Medicine, Brigham and Women’s Hospital, and Harvard Medical School published a study in Nature that concluded “although biologics are often thought to be more time-consuming to develop than small-molecule drugs, development times for biologics are similar to, or possibly somewhat shorter than, for small-molecule drugs.”