How Dems' 'Better Deal' would address drug costs: 3 notes

Congressional Democrats announced their "Better Deal" campaign Monday, which outlines three major goals: raise Americans' wages, lower their cost of living and build a better economy.

The Better Deal program also highlights three major actions to tackle high drug prices.

1. Tougher enforcement of drug price increases. House Democrats would like to name a "price gouging" enforcer, confirmable by the U.S. Senate, who would serve as director of a new agency focused on eliminating drug price hikes.

"The agency will identify drugs that have unconscionable price increases and impose fines on the manufacturer that are proportional to the size of the price hike, reinvesting the money from the fines into … research and development [for new cures] at the National Institutes of Health," Democrats wrote in a Better Deal drug pricing proposal.

2. Allow Medicare to negotiate drug prices. The Better Deal program would remove restrictions preventing Medicare Part D from negotiating drug prices with drugmakers. This action would empower "the government to leverage the bargaining power of the 41 million Americans enrolled in Medicare Part D and fight for the best possible deal on drug prices," according to the proposal.

3. Improve drug price transparency. Drugmakers would be required to submit justification of a drug price increase to HHS at least 30 days before the price hike takes effect under the Better Deal program. The justification would be made public to hold drugmakers accountable for their pricing practices. "Drug manufacturers could avoid submitting this information if they lower the price of the drug," according to the report.

To view the full drug pricing proposal, click here.

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