Collins: Drug pricing bill not likely at innovation hearing

Sen. Susan CollinsSusan Margaret CollinsHere are the Senate Republicans who could vote to convict Trump Giffords, Demand Justice to pressure GOP senators to reject Trump judicial pick Senate confirms eight Trump court picks in three days MORE (R-Maine) says that her bill aimed at fighting high profile drug price spikes will likely not be considered as part of a health committee session on Wednesday. 

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“I don't think it's going to come up tomorrow, but I'm assured by the chairman that it will be considered at some point,” Collins said Tuesday, referring to Sen. Lamar AlexanderAndrew (Lamar) Lamar AlexanderKey House and Senate health leaders reach deal to stop surprise medical bills Here are the Senate Republicans who could vote to convict Trump Overnight Health Care — Presented by Johnson & Johnson – House progressives may try to block vote on Pelosi drug bill | McConnell, Grassley at odds over Trump-backed drug pricing bill | Lawmakers close to deal on surprise medical bills MORE (R-Tenn.). 

The health committee is holding a markup Wednesday on the last batch of a series of innovation bills aimed at speeding up the FDA’s approval process for drugs. 

That package has been seen as a possible vehicle for some sort of provision related to drug prices, which have been a hot button issue on the campaign trail and elsewhere. 

Collins’s bill, which she introduced with Sen. Claire McCaskillClaire Conner McCaskillGinsburg health scare raises prospect of election year Supreme Court battle MSNBC's McCaskill: Trump used 'his fat thumbs' to try to intimidate Yovanovitch GOP senator rips into Pelosi at Trump rally: 'It must suck to be that dumb' MORE (D-Mo.), is one of the leading drug pricing proposals in Congress. It aims to crack down on high profile price spikes like those from infamous CEO Martin Shkreli’s former firm, Turing Pharmaceuticals. 

The bill would seek to speed up the FDA’s approval of certain generic drugs to allow them to compete with older drugs for rare diseases that no longer have patent protection but that still have little or no competition. 

The idea is that the added competition from the generic will help guard against price spikes. 

Collins indicated, though, that the bill could find another vehicle besides the innovation bill. 

“I’m not sure exactly what the vehicle will be,” she said. 

Bringing drug pricing up at the markup on Wednesday could have opened up the contentious issue of drug pricing and pushed the larger effort off track. 

While many Democrats want to do more to fight high drug pricing than just the Collins- McCaskill bill, their main focus on the innovation bill so far has been trying to reach a deal for new mandatory funding for medical research at the National Institutes of Health.