WASHINGTON (AP) — Senate lawmakers shot down Democrats’ plan to curb drug prices but left it largely intact Saturday, Democrats said, as party leaders prepare to move their sweeping fiscal bill. through the room.
Elizabeth McDonough, the chamber’s rules mediator, said rules that force drugmakers to pay rebates for products sold to private insurers if their prices rise above inflation must be eliminated.
But if the prices of drugs bought by Medicare go up too much, the pharmaceutical companies will have to pay those fines.
Other parts of the law, allowing Medicare to negotiate the costs of drugs it buys, capping seniors’ out-of-pocket costs and providing free vaccines, all survived.
“This is a big win for the American people,” Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., said in a statement. “Despite an unfortunate ruling that the scope of inflation reduction is limited, the overall program remains intact and we are one step closer to finally taking on Big Pharma and lowering Rx drug prices for millions of Americans.”
Repeal of penalties on drugmakers for price gouging on private insurers would reduce incentives for drug companies to limit what they charge. That would raise costs for patients and reduce the $288 billion in savings over 10 years that Democrats estimated the overall drug controls would generate.