House passes drug-pricing bill targeting 'big pharma's games'

The House overwhelmingly approved a bipartisan drug pricing bill that looks to crack down on "big pharma's games" that increase profits at the expense of the taxpayers, according to The Hill.

The bill, introduced by Sens. Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, and Ron Wyden, D-Ore, will target drugmaker practices that make their products more expensive for taxpayers. The bill would grant HHS explicit authority to reclassify a drug, recoup incorrect rebate payments and fine drugmakers that deliberately misclassify a drug to pay lower rebates to Medicaid.

Currently, the federal government doesn't have authority to recoup rebates.

While introducing the bill, the senators specifically mentioned Mylan, which incorrectly classified its brand-name EpiPen as a generic drug. Mylan resolved an EpiPen lawsuit with the Justice Department in 2016 for $465 million. While Mylan paid a hefty sum to resolve the lawsuit, one federal analysis found taxpayers may have overpaid by as much as $1.27 billion over a 10-year period.

"While families struggle to afford medicines like EpiPen, drugmakers are busy manipulating the system to squeeze taxpayers even more," Mr. Wyden told The Hill.  "This bipartisan bill will crack down on big pharma's games and help prevent them from taking advantage of Medicaid, a program meant to protect the most vulnerable."

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