Federal Trade Commissioner Reportedly Supports Medicare Drug Cost Negotiations

During a health care conference on Thursday, Republican Federal Trade Commissioner Christine Wilson expressed support for allowing Medicare to negotiate drug prices.1

During a health care conference on Thursday, Republican Federal Trade Commissioner Christine Wilson expressed support for allowing Medicare to negotiate drug prices.1

Wilson reportedly said allowing the federal government to negotiate for pharmaceutical prices under Medicare and Medicaid could address the lack of competition in some drug markets. According to reports, Wilson added that she might be hitting the "third rail" with her comment.1

Bills have previously been introduced to allow government drug price negotiation and several Democratic presidential candidates support the authorization.2

The most recent proposal was included in HR 3, the Lower Drug Costs Now Act of 2019, which was introduced by Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) and sponsored by 3 Democratic representatives. The bill would allow negotiation for 25 to 250 brand-name drugs lacking generic or biosimilar competitors. It also would establish a cap for the negotiated price equal to 120% of the Average International price. The bill passed in the House on December 12, 2019.2

According to a survey by the Kaiser Family Foundation, 88% of the public favors allowing the federal government to negotiate drug prices for Medicare. When broken down by political parties, 92% of Democrats support the change compared with 85% of Republicans.2

Republicans who oppose the proposals expressed concern that the change would allow Medicare to set drug prices and would stifle the development of new drugs.1

According to reports, Wilson also expressed concerns about "anticompetitive strategies" to decrease competition and added that she favors a retrospective examination of mergers to examine their effects on prices.1

REFERENCES

  • Hansard S. Republican FTC Official Backs Medicare Negotiating Drug Prices (1). Bloomberg Law, https://news.bloomberglaw.com/health-law-and-business/republican-ftc-official-backs-medicare-negotiating-drug-prices. Accessed Jan 20, 2020.
  • Cubanski J, Neuman T, True S, Freed M. What's the latest on Medicare Drug Price Negotiations? Kaiser Family Foundation. https://www.kff.org/medicare/issue-brief/whats-the-latest-on-medicare-drug-price-negotiations/. Accessed Jan 20, 2020.