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House to vote on Speaker Pelosi’s prescription drug bill this week

Andy Uhler Dec 9, 2019
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"The cost of actually manufacturing most of these drugs is very small, so [pharmaceutical companies are] making a huge profit on each drug that they sell," says Gerard Anderson, a professor in the department of health policy and management Johns Hopkins University. Joe Raedle/Getty Images

House to vote on Speaker Pelosi’s prescription drug bill this week

Andy Uhler Dec 9, 2019
"The cost of actually manufacturing most of these drugs is very small, so [pharmaceutical companies are] making a huge profit on each drug that they sell," says Gerard Anderson, a professor in the department of health policy and management Johns Hopkins University. Joe Raedle/Getty Images
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The House of Representatives is scheduled to vote this week on H.R. 3, Nancy Pelosi’s sweeping new bill looking to lower drug prices. Pelosi says the bill will make prescription drugs cheaper and more accessible. But the White House is arguing the law would limit the number of new drugs that get developed.

Pelosi’s plan would empower the Department of Health and Human Services to negotiate lower prices on prescription drugs. Gerard Anderson, a professor in the department of health policy and management at Johns Hopkins University, said pharmaceutical companies currently tell consumers how much to pay for their prescriptions.

“The cost of actually manufacturing most of these drugs is very small, so they’re making a huge profit on each drug that they sell,” Anderson said.

The Trump administration has argued the law could lead to 100 fewer drugs entering the U. S. market and cost the U.S. economy as much as $1 trillion a year over the next decade.

Stacie Dusetzina, an associate professor of health policy at Vanderbilt University, said there will definitely be trade-offs under this law. Fewer drugs will likely be developed, but the White House numbers are inflated. And simply producing new drugs doesn’t automatically give people access.

“If we have more and more drugs but no one can afford to take them, then we’re not really in a good spot,” Dusetzina said.

Even if Pelosi’s drug bill gets out of the House, it’s likely to have a tough road in the Republican-led Senate.

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