Sen. Josh Hawley, R-Mo., is going after Big Pharma and wants lawmakers in his party to join him.
Hawley on Wednesday introduced two new bills to cut drug costs: the Fair Prescription Drug Prices for Americans Act and the Ending the Prescription Drug Kickback Act of 2023. Hawley told NBC News that Republicans need to be "for people, not for pharma."
The first bill would prohibit pharmaceutical companies from selling a drug in the United States at a higher price than the average price of the drug sold in the other G-7 advanced economies. Big Pharma could face stiff fines for not complying.
The second bill would prohibit, without exception, prescription drug rebates in federal health programs like Medicare and private insurance plans, including those intended to influence formulary tier placement or its equivalent, and restore transparency and fairness to the prescription drug market. It would put patients on a more level playing field with large corporations.
"My view — and I've had this view for years now — is that American patients should not be bearing the cost of cheap drugs everywhere else in the world," Hawley told NBC. "And these pharma companies shouldn't be able to make massive profits off the back of Americans who desperately need many of these drugs and products in order to live."
Drugmakers launched new medicines at record-high prices in 2022, a Reuters analysis found, highlighting their pricing power even after Congress moved to cut the $500 billion-plus annual bill for prescription drugs in the U.S.
Hawley said there is "no reason that anybody ought to be defending Big Pharma," adding that major pharmaceutical companies told "flat-out lies" about the opioid crisis and misled Americans on what they charge for medicines.
"So, my pitch to my fellow Republicans is we need to be for people, not for pharma," Hawley said. "We need to be about helping patients be able to get affordable prices. And I have no interest in helping pharma further fleece these consumers to line their own pockets.
"And by the same token, I don't have any interest in helping the big insurance companies keep their sweetheart deals with pharma, where they get these kickbacks for negotiating cheaper drug prices … and then passing on higher prices to consumers. I think we should end that, too."
Solange Reyner ✉
Solange Reyner is a writer and editor for Newsmax. She has more than 15 years in the journalism industry reporting and covering news, sports and politics.
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