Congressman Lloyd Doggett of Texas, along with 59 other House Democrats, just introduced a bill that would require Medicare drug price negotiation. Doggett’s bill provides the Secretary of HHS with the countervailing power needed to keep Pharma from gouging people with Medicare. And, if Pharma refuses to sell a prescription drug at a fair price, the bill protects patient access to the drugs, by requiring compulsory licensing.
Doggett’s bill represents the first big Congressional initiative to rein in drug prices. It strikes the “noninterference clause” from the law that enacted Medicare Part D prescription drug coverage. This clause prevents HHS from negotiating Part D drug prices at the moment. Rather, Doggett’s bill requires the Secretary of HHS to negotiate drug prices. And, it ensures that Pharma cannot keep drugs off the market if it does not like the price HHS is willing to pay.