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Bipartisan Bill To Lower Drug Prices Stalled On Capitol Hill

by Countable | 2.12.18

What’s the story?

Despite President Trump’s declaration to lower drug prices in his State of The Union address, and despite the focus on health care that dominated Congress for much of 2017, a bill with wide bipartisan support that would lower drug prices and save the federal government $3.8 billion over a decade is stalled on Capitol Hill.

The bill is called the CREATES Act. Its focus is on increasing competition by removing roadblocks to companies trying to develop generic alternatives to name brand drugs. According to the Washington Post, "It’s common for pharmaceutical companies to try to block competitors from creating generic versions of their products by either refusing to sell them the large quantities needed for the development process or by abusing special safety protocols as a way of safeguarding their drugs from competition."

The CREATES Act would allow companies looking to develop generics to sue name-brand companies that refuse to send the samples needed for testing. It would also authorize the Food and Drug Administration to develop alternative safety protocols if name-brand companies block generic companies’ participation in safety protocols.

Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-VT) sponsored the bill. The 16 co-sponsors include Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX), Sen. Tom Cotton (R-AR), Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) and Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-MN). FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb told the Post that the bill would be the best way to "speed up the entry of cheaper generics into the marketplace and lower the price of drugs overall."

Critics of the bill argue that the list of drugs that would be affected by the legislation is small (less than 45), and the potential increase in litigation would end up increasing costs to patients and taxpayers.

Despite the cost-savings projected by the Congressional Budget Office, the bill was not rolled into any funding bill yet approved by Congress. Leahy noted its absence from the continuing resolution approved last week on the Senate floor.

Congress will have to approve a new funding package by March 23. Countable will have a summary of the CREATES Act up soon to help you in reaching out to your lawmakers.

What do you think?

Should the CREATES Act be included in a future funding package? Why or why not?

Tell us in the comments what you think, then use the Take Action button to tell your reps!

— Asha Sanaker

(Photo Credit: Images Money via Flickr / Creative Commons)

Countable

Written by Countable

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(50)
  • RadicalModerate
    02/12/2018
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    Political corruption stalled this bill and the ultra capitalist extremists in Washington have no plans to fix it. We get sick and they get rich.

    Like (29)
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  • Azrael
    02/12/2018
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    Open the markets up Let’s use Canadian drug companies Easy fix

    Like (23)
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  • Lynn
    02/13/2018
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    Of course it’s stalled. The lobbyists must be going berserk on this one. Each wielding a handful of no-limit credit cards and a smarmy smirk. Have I mentioned that I hate lobbyists?

    Like (16)
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  • Marylynn
    02/13/2018
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    Let's see, we have a mid term election coming up and getting contributions is the number one priority for all those running. And we all know that big pharma companies donate large amounts of money and expect something in return. Keeping their prices higher for one...

    Like (13)
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  • Guy
    02/12/2018
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    Easy fix. If it is an American company that developed the drug then we should get the lowest price of any developed country. Period the end!

    Like (6)
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  • Countryfirst
    02/13/2018
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    It figures..money grubbing republicans won't do a damn thing to help middle class and poor people..everything for the RICH!

    Like (5)
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  • NoHedges
    02/13/2018
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    How about you lower gas prices as well, again no trickle down from those big energy corporations who received huge tax breaks. 💣No, they say it is simply a case of supply and demand. 📉Well in case you haven't noticed, the American people are having a shortage in the supply of their patience with antics of the 1% and many of us are demanding that you all start paying your fair share!

    Like (3)
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  • Chris
    02/12/2018
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    From a capitalist perspective, why should a drug company give samples to competitors to copy their drug and sell it cheaper? I would bet that there are other ways to reduce costs, starting with reforming health insurance, and, no, I don’t mean nationalizing healthcare/insurance. Allow for more competition, make doctor’s offices show prices for the services/tests they will provide. I would also be curious what other laws are in place that prohibit more competition among drug companies

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  • R. ben
    02/12/2018
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    Easy fix. Open the markets up, break up the monopolies, the company trusts, and after all that if people STILL can’t afford offer substatises.

    Like (3)
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  • Mark
    02/13/2018
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    I happen to need a name-brand anti-seizure medicine. Because, apparently, the generic “equivalent” doesn’t work, for me. I have had doctors specify that I must receive the proper medicine. But, with Trumpster, it is a big concern to me.

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  • David
    02/13/2018
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    This bill would in no way enrich the donor class. As such it will not pass. Ever. This is the current role of government.

    Like (3)
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  • Timnyc
    02/13/2018
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    Another promise broken with DT there were some issues I did agree and hoped he would change. But we all know that corporate profit TRUMPS trump when it comes to his Money and the money of the 1%

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  • Diana
    02/13/2018
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    The argument that creating generics would create more law suits is absurd! Companies are purposely keeping the prices high to prevent generics from being made! And whoever the moron in congress is, that stated it affected less than 45 drugs needs to check the facts! I pay over $583 for Lyrica. I pay over $600 for Hysingla! The same opiate would cost me $5 a bottle, but has now come under fire for people who abuse it! I’m disgusted that our Government can be bought and paid for by big Pharma, instead of working for the people!

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  • Clint
    02/12/2018
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    There is nothing more important to this country at the moment than our president. What I want to know is what are you planning on doing to protect this country and it’s people from literally everything he does. I could give you a huge list but it’s been done. You’re all grown men. You know what’s happening. So you either agree with it or your scared. So I say this to you all. Man up or we find someone else who will.

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  • Sam
    02/13/2018
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    This bill needs to happen. Americans are struggling and dying from drug prices being too high and the longer congress stalls on this, the more people suffer.

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  • Joshua
    02/13/2018
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    The government need to prioritize giving all of its citizens affordable healthcare over giving all their attention to Big Pharma's checkbook.

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  • Cndrla
    02/13/2018
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    UNIVERSAL CARE

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  • John
    02/13/2018
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    There obviously needs to be more generic competition and less price gouging for brand drugs. Medicare and other payers need to be able to deal for prices and consumers need to be able to participate in these “deals” as well. Some of this bill sounds good but depending on lawsuits to effect change (years time and very costly) doesn’t sound like the best way to do it.

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  • Daryl
    02/12/2018
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    Because Government price control works so well. You want to lower prices, then get rid of all the stupid lawsuits against the drug companies.

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  • Sheryl
    02/13/2018
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    It’s not going to be easy to lower drug prices in the US. There’s too much profit to be made. This is one of the downsides to capitalism. Only those who can afford to live can afford to live.

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