Drug lobby's power fading in Washington

The drug industry has long had enormous lobbying power in Washington, but that power may be fading amid more bipartisan efforts to lower drug prices, The Wall Street Journal reported

The Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America, the drug industry's top lobbying group, has 47 lobbying firms on retainer, 183 registered lobbyists and spends twice as much as the oil industry's trade group to lobby Congress. 

PhRMA has relied on its relationship with Republican lawmakers and on support from enough Democrats to block policy changes that may hurt the drug industry. 

Now, for the first time in a generation, some Republicans and Democrats are working together to come up with legislation to lower drug prices, according to the Journal

Sens. Ron Wyden, D-Ore., and Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, have co-sponsored a bill with provisions such as blocking drugmakers from increasing their prices by more than the rate of inflation. 

Sens. John Cornyn, R-Texas, and Richard Blumenthal, D-Conn., co-sponsored a bill to block drug companies from using patent laws to delay cheaper versions of drugs, according to the Journal

President Donald Trump and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi have both publicly criticized the drug lobby and backed proposals to lower costs. 

The bipartisan efforts reflect the waning influence of the drug industry on Congress, the Journal reported. 

Stephen Ubl, CEO of PhRMA, told the Journal that the drug industry may be open to a deal that combines elements of several different proposals and said there are provisions that could meaningfully improve affordability for patients without including price controls. 

Read the full article here

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