House Democrats fail to advance drug pricing bill after feud with centrists

House Democrats fail to advance drug pricing bill after feud with centrists

House Democrats failed to advance a consequential drug price negotiation measure out of committee on Wednesday after three centrists opposed the progressive agenda item.

Reps. Scott Peters of California and Kurt Schrader of Oregon, both Democrats who unveiled rival legislation Tuesday, voted against the measure, as did New York Democratic Rep. Kathleen Rice. With all Republicans voting no, the final vote was 29-29. The proposal was meant to be a key provision within the broader partisan Democratic multitrillion-dollar infrastructure and social welfare reconciliation bill.

Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Frank Pallone pleaded with members on the fence to cast a vote in favor of advancing the proposal, which would give the federal government negotiating power with drug manufacturers for the highest priced and most commonly used prescription drugs, including insulin.


“I promise that your voices will be heard, either with a seat at the table or through me, and ultimately, we all want the same things, which is meaningful drug pricing reform that clears the U.S. Senate and gets sent to the president’s desk,” Pallone said.

The rival legislation would have given the government negotiating power for a small subset of drugs covered under Medicare Part B that have no other competitors on the market. It was a non-starter for liberals in the party, as well as for advocates for lower drug prices, who argued the far narrower negotiating powers were a favor to the pharmaceutical industry.

“It is unfortunate that Reps. Peters, Rice, Schrader are turning their backs on patients, going against the wishes of voters in their districts, and doing the bidding of Big Pharma,” said David Mitchell, founder of Patients For Affordable Drugs Now. “There will no doubt be a price to pay in the future for their efforts to oppose the most popular priority in the reconciliation package — allowing Medicare to negotiate lower drug prices.”


The failure is a blow to Democrats, who have passed this drug price negotiation measure twice in previous sessions for it to stall in the then-Republican-majority Senate. Still, Wednesday's vote may not be the end of the road for Democratic efforts to impose curbs on drug prices, which could still be included in some form in the final reconciliation package. Senate Finance Committee Chairman Ron Wyden, an Oregon Democrat, outlined a proposal to lower drug prices in June that included a similar policy to grant the federal government negotiating power.

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Tags: Healthcare, News, Drugs, Pharmaceutical Industry

Original Author: Cassidy Morrison

Original Location: House Democrats fail to advance drug pricing bill after feud with centrists