Senator Braun Talks Plan to Lower Drug Prices on BloombergTV

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Senator Braun Talks Plan to Lower Drug Prices on BloombergTV

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, Senator Braun joined David Westin on BloombergTV to discuss the broken state of our drug pricing system, his plan to take on rising prescription prices for Hoosiers and Americans, and the big win of UnitedHealth implementing one of the pricing reforms he introduced.

Click here or below to watch Senator Braun on BloombergTV:

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BACKGROUND …

Days after Senator Braun’s legislation, UnitedHealth gives drug discounts directly to consumers.  “UnitedHealth said Tuesday all of its new employer-sponsored plans in 2020 will pass discounts paid to so-called pharmacy benefits managers to consumers at the drug store counter. … UnitedHealth said its rebate program has lowered costs for consumers by $130 per prescription on average.  The Trump administration has proposed doing away with the rebate system for Medicare plans but has not gone as far as extending the ban to commercial plans. Drug manufacturers pay PBMs the rebates for getting their drugs covered by Medicare’s Part D prescription plan.  One week ago, Sen. Mike Braun, R-Ind., introduced the Drug Price Transparency Act, which would ban rebates for commercial plans.”  (CNBC, 03/12/19)

Senator Braun enters the fray over prescription drug ‘middleman’ with a proposal to cut costs.  “U.S. Sen. Mike Braun waded into the national debate over high prescription drug prices this week with legislation that would end a nontransparent practice that critics say contributes to their spiraling cost.  The bill in question from the Indiana Republican targets the role of large companies called pharmacy benefit managers, which are offered rebates by pharmaceutical companies as they negotiate which drugs are covered by insurance.  Some of those discounts may get passed on to the consumer, but critics say pharmacy benefit managers often pocket the profits from those rebates since they don’t have to disclose what deals they are offered by drug companies.” (The Indianapolis Star, 03/07/19)
Senator Braun’s bills aimed at lowering drug costs. “U.S. Sen. Mike Braun announced Wednesday he has introduced three bills that aim to reduce prescription drug prices.  They would ban drugmaker rebates to pharmacy benefit managers, speed the federal drug review process and discourage pharmaceutical companies from trying to delay the approval of generic drugs.  ‘I’m offering solutions to address rising healthcare prices by adding transparency to our drug pricing, clearing the backlog on pending drug applications at the FDA, and providing oversight and accountability within the healthcare industry,’ Braun, R-Ind., said in a statement.  Braun’s Drug Price Transparency Act would prohibit pharmacy benefit managers, which are third-party administrators of prescription drug programs, from receiving rebates or price reductions from drug manufacturers and require that any drug manufacturer rebates or price reductions be reflected at the point-of-sale to the consumer. ‘To drive down high drug costs, we need to shine a light on the negotiations between drug manufacturers, middleman negotiators, and pharmacies,’ Braun wrote in a commentary published Tuesday by the Washington Times.” (The Fort Wayne Journal Gazette, 03/06/19)

Senator Braun introduced legislation that would require health insurance companies to pass on prescription drug rebates to the consumer, instead of a middleman known as pharmacy benefit managers (PBMs).  “According to President Trump’s Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar, Americans pay more than we need to for prescription drugs in large part because of a “hidden system of kickbacks to middlemen,” known as pharmacy benefit managers (PBMs). PBMs play a role in negotiating with drug companies, and the current rebate-driven system — facilitated by PBMs — is characterized by high drug-list prices and hidden rebates.  These middlemen usually receive negotiated rebates from drug manufacturers and pocket an undisclosed portion of the rebate. Generally, the higher a drug’s list price, the bigger the rebate — which equals more money for these middlemen.  Recently, HHS confirmed that ‘all or nearly all’ of the drug price increases from drug manufacturers last month were being paid as rebates to pharmacy benefit managers or insurers, leaving Americans with higher drug prices. As a result, HHS proposed prohibiting these hidden rebates in government health care programs, which is a good first step, but we need to do more.  To drive down high drug costs, we need to shine a light on the negotiations between drug manufacturers, middleman negotiators, and pharmacies. That’s why I’m proposing legislation — to complement HHS’s proposed rule for government health care programs to end these hidden rebates for private health insurance plans and require that any rebates be reflected in the price you see at your local pharmacy.”  (The Washington Times, 03/05/19)

Drug Price Transparency (DPT) Act.  “On Feb. 6, 2019, HHS and HHS OIG issued a proposed rule that would eliminate current legal safe harbors for pharmacy benefit managers (PBMs) to receive rebates from drug manufacturers.  Specifically, the proposed rule relates to price reductions offered by a drug manufacturer to a Medicare Part D plan sponsor and Medicaid Managed Care Organizations (government payers).  Senator Braun’s bill would extend the idea of the HHS OIG PBM rebate rule to the commercial insurance market and amend the Public Health Service Act (Title 42) to prohibit PBMs from receiving any rebates or reductions in price from drug manufacturers.  It also folds in the two new safeguards created by the HHS OIG rule.  Importantly, this legislation explicitly requires any rebates (or reduction in price) from a drug manufacturer for any drug be reflected at the point-of-sale (i.e. pharmacy counter) to the consumer.  The goal of the bill is to lower prescription drug prices and out-of-pocket costs for consumers by encouraging PBMs to pass discounts from drug manufacturers directly on to consumers and bring transparency to the prescription drug market.  The intent of the rule is to lower out-of-pocket costs at the pharmacy counter and add needed pricing transparency to the market.”  (Press Release, 03/06/19)

 

 

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