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Carter, O’Halleran, Rice, Panetta Introduce Bipartisan Bill to Increase Transparency in the Drug Pricing System

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Washington, March 14, 2019 | comments
Today Representative Earl L. “Buddy” Carter (R-Ga.) along with Representatives Tom O’Halleran (D-Az.), Tom Rice (R-Sc.) and Jimmy Panetta (D-Ca.) introduced bipartisan legislation to increase transparency in the drug pricing system.

Currently, Congress’ independent advisory commissions, the Medicare Payment Advisory Commission (MedPAC) and the Medicaid and CHIP Payment and Access Commission (MACPAC), do not have access to certain drug pricing data. MedPAC and MACPAC need data such as information about drug rebates in order to make recommendations to Congress on how to improve the Medicare and Medicaid programs and lower prescription drug prices.

This legislation, the Payment Commission Data Act, gives MedPAC and MACPAC access to drug pricing data so the industry experts on the commissions have access to the information needed to do their important work. This will increase transparency and help provide recommendations to Congress that will ultimately create policy reforms to help patients.

“It’s unacceptable that the experts tasked with presenting Congress with recommendations on how to better address the important task of lowering prescription drug prices do not have access to the data they need,” said Carter. “This legislation will give them access to what is needed to be sure they can provide the best possible recommendations. It will also bring more clarity to the drug pricing system and increase transparency. I have always said the key to addressing the rising costs of prescription drugs is increased transparency. Sunlight is the best disinfectant. As the only pharmacist in Congress, lowering prescription drug prices for Americans is one of my top priorities and I’m glad to be joined by a great bipartisan group of members who also care deeply about this issue.”

“The rising cost of prescription drugs is forcing hardworking families to choose between life-saving medication and other necessities. Congress must act to bring those prices down and increase transparency surrounding drug pricing,” O’Halleran said. “This commonsense legislation is an important step in bringing prices down by ensuring experts have complete access to drug pricing data as they put together recommendations for Congressional action. I am proud to support this bipartisan legislation, and I will continue working to find solutions to the real challenges Arizonans face.”

“Congress created independent commissions to analyze data and provide suggestions to lower prescription drug prices," said Rice. "These commissions should be able to access the information they need to make their recommendations. This bipartisan solution will increase transparency in drug pricing which will ultimately translate to lower drug prices for Americans. I would like to thank my colleagues for their partnership on this legislation and I will continue to pursue policies that achieve this goal.”  

“One of the principal challenges in developing effective drug pricing legislation is the lack of data on how pharmacy benefit managers, insurance carriers, wholesalers, and drug manufacturers engage in contracts to offer prescription drug plans under Medicare," said Panetta. "This bipartisan bill will increase transparency on how drug prices are established, enable health experts to analyze these programs, and provide recommendations to Congress on how best to lower drug prices.”

MedPAC and MACPAC came to Congress with concerns that they do not have access to the drug pricing data they need to provide accurate and complete recommendations. Some examples of data the commissions need access to include prices charged by drug manufacturers and wholesalers and the amounts and sources of rebates, price concessions, or other direct or indirect remuneration under such prescription drug plan.

Original cosponsors include Representatives Greg Gianforte (R-Mt.) and Peter Welch (D-Vt.). 
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