Measure to improve prescription drug price transparency passes House Ways and Means Committee
A bipartisan bill to increase transparency of prescription drug pricing is advancing after unanimous passage Tuesday by the House Committee on Ways and Means.
There has been public outcry since manufacturers of life-saving drugs like EpiPen raised prices by nearly 500 percent in just 10 years, while costs of drugs like insulin have doubled from 2012 to 2016, according to the Health Care Cost Institute.
The Prescription Drug STAR Act, bill H.R. 2113, addresses key issues related to transparency and public reporting of information in order to improve accountability. It also aims to ensure consumers, purchasers, and taxpayers have a better understanding of the market.
“Today, our committee put aside our ideological differences and passed the bipartisan Prescription Drug STAR Act, a first step in addressing the high cost of prescription drugs affecting consumers in Massachusetts, Texas, and across the country by improving transparency for patients,” said Chairman Rep. Richard E. Neal, D-Mass., and leading Republican Committee member Rep. Kevin Brady, R-Texas, in a joint statement.
They added, “This bipartisan effort brings sunlight across the health care supply chain, from pharmaceutical manufacturers to pharmacy benefit managers, to help reduce costs for families. There is more work to be done on this bill and on this issue and we look forward to continuing our bipartisan work to address other drug pricing and pressing health care issues the American people face.”
The bill is supported by organizations like AARP, the American Hospital Association, ERISA Industry Committee, National Community Pharmacists Association and Federation of American Hospitals, according to the release.
Currently, there is no law regulating prescription drug prices.
The Prescription Drug STAR Act – which stands for Sunshine, Transparency, Accountability and Reporting – if passed, would require drug manufacturers to “publicly justify large price increases for existing drugs and high launches prices on new drugs.”
It would also require all drug manufacturers to submit information about the average sales prices for doctor-prescribed drugs covered under Medicare Part B; would require that certain manufacturers report the monetary value and quantity of samples they have provided; and would require the Secretary of Health and Human Services to conduct a study on inpatient (Medicare Part A) drug costs, including trends in inpatient drug use by hospital type.
It would also require that the Secretary publicly disclose rebates, discounts and price concessions achieved by pharmaceutical benefit managers, which are third-party organizations used by commercial insurers like Medicare Part D, federal and state employee benefits and self-insured employer plans.