Senate Judiciary Committee Revisits Drug Pricing Reform Bills
The Senate Judiciary Committee is showing renewed Congressional interest in oversight of the pharmaceutical industry, with five bipartisan drug bills on the agenda for review and discussion on February 9, 2023.
On February 9, 2023, the Senate Judiciary Committee will hold an executive business meeting to review various drug-related bills on the agenda. The proposed bipartisan legislation comes in the wake of the Inflation Reduction Act of 2022, which was passed in August 2022 and included several sweeping provisions related to prescription drug pricing and reform. Notably, the committee is reassessing a package of bills largely focused on increasing competition for brand drugs. The following bills are scheduled to be discussed by the committee:
- S. 79, Interagency Patent Coordination and Improvement Act of 2023 (Durbin, Tillis, Grassley, Coons). This bill would create a task force between the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office and the Food and Drug Administration ("FDA") reportedly to improve communication and coordination in implementing each agency's patent activities by encouraging the agencies to collaborate and share information on developments in science and technology.
- S. 113, Prescription Pricing for the People Act of 2023 (Grassley, Cantwell, Blumenthal, Blackburn, Tillis). This bill aims to increase transparency into pharmacy benefit manager ("PBM") practices by directing the Federal Trade Commission ("FTC") to issue a report addressing alleged anticompetitive PBM behaviors along with other trends, observations, or information on pharmaceutical pricing. As proposed, the FTC also would issue a supplemental report based on this review to highlight the agency's recommendations for related policy or legislative recommendations.
- S. 142, Preserve Access to Affordable Generics and Biosimilars Act (Klobuchar, Grassley, Durbin, Blumenthal, Booker, Ossoff). This bill would limit what the bill identifies as an anticompetitive practice, whereby manufacturers allegedly use pay-off agreements to delay the introduction of cheaper substitutes, ultimately, in the view of the bill, resulting in higher prescription drug costs.
- S. 148, Stop STALLING Act (Klobuchar, Grassley, Durbin, Blumenthal, Cruz, Booker, Ossoff). This bill seeks to disincentivize branded pharmaceutical companies from filing what it claims is a "sham" petition with the FDA for the alleged intention of interfering with the regulatory approval process for generics and biosimilars that would compete with their own products. If passed, this bill also would provide additional enforcement authority to the FTC against companies who file such petitions.
- S. 150, Affordable Prescriptions for Patients Act of 2023 (Cornyn, Blumenthal, Grassley, Durbin, Cruz, Klobuchar). This bill seeks to lower drug prices by foreclosing what the bill alleges are anticompetitive practices related to patents being deployed by manufacturers to block generic and biosimilar competition from coming to market.