Lawmakers debate role of prescription drugs and generics in health care costs
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Lawmakers on both sides of the aisle Tuesday debated the role of prescription drugs and generics in the rising costs of overall health care.

Speaking at The Hill's “Complex Generic & the Prescription Drug Landscape” event, Reps. Brett GuthrieSteven (Brett) Brett GuthrieLawmakers press federal agencies on scope of SolarWinds attack Biden convenes bipartisan meeting on cancer research Lawmakers debate role of prescription drugs and generics in health care costs MORE (R-Ky.) and Peter WelchPeter Francis WelchDemocrats gear up for major push to lower drug prices Lawmakers debate role of prescription drugs and generics in health care costs The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by TikTok - Senate trial will have drama, but no surprise ending MORE (D-Vt.) said affordability needs to be a key focus when crafting new policies.

“We have wonderful medical care in this country, but it is so expensive, including the cost of prescription drugs, in particular, that you can’t afford it,” said Welch, a member of the House Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Health and co-chair and founder of the Affordable Medicines Caucus.

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He told The Hill's Steve Clemons that bringing down prescription drug costs is “a potential unifying issue for us in Congress in these troubled times.”

Drug costs have been on the rise for years, creating barriers to many Americans looking to obtain affordable medications.

Guthrie, who is the ranking member of the Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Health, said faster approval of complex generic prescription drugs would provide cost-saving options for Americans.

“There can be no sacrifice in safety and efficacy, but we can certainly make things happen in terms of efficiency and speed,” Guthrie said.

Sally Choe, director of the Food and Drug Administration's Office of Generic Drugs and who also spoke at Tuesday's event, sponsored by the Association for Accessible Medicines, said more generic drugs on the market will contribute to lower patient costs.

“Our policies do affect the competition in the market and we know that more generics on the market lead to more competition, which can drive prices down,” Choe said.

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