Bipartisan bill to reduce drug waste introduced in Senate

Senators introduced a bipartisan bill Tuesday calling on the Food and Drug Administration and CMS to create an action plan to reduce healthcare spending stemming from wasteful drug delivery practices.

Senators cited a recent investigation conducted by ProPublica that found pharmaceutical companies produce eye medications to dispense more formula in each drop than the eye can hold, ultimately doubling the use of the drops and driving healthcare prices up.

The Reducing Drug Waste Act of 2017 was introduced by Sens. Amy Klobuchar, D-Minn., and Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa. It is cosponsored by Sens. Jeanne Shaheen, D-N.H., and Robert Menendez, D-N.J. "With the skyrocketing costs of prescription drugs, American taxpayers shouldn't be footing the bill for medicine going to waste," Ms. Klobuchar said in a press release. "Our bipartisan legislation would begin to address the problem of millions being spent on discarded drugs."

A similar study featured by The New York Times in March 2016 found almost $3 billion of cancer drugs are wasted each year simply because each vial contains too much medicine and the vials cannot be reused. Ms. Klobuchar then called on the HHS Office of Inspector General to conduct a review of drug waste from single-use vials. The OIG review confirmed Medicare reimbursed $195 million for discarded drugs in 2013 and 2014 in Part B alone.


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