House GOP blocks Trump-supported drug pricing provision from spending bill
House Republicans on Thursday blocked a drug pricing amendment supported by President Trump from inclusion in a health-care spending bill.
The provision, which passed the Senate on a bipartisan basis last month, would require drug prices to be disclosed in television advertisements for drugs in an effort to increase transparency and bring down prices.
Lawmakers and aides said that House Republicans objected to including the provision in the final version of the funding bill, which was finished by House and Senate negotiators on Thursday.
Sen. Dick Durbin (D-Ill.), one of the sponsors of the provision, blamed pharmaceutical companies for exercising their influence to block the measure.
“When are we going to stand up to Big Pharma?” Durbin asked.
He noted that Trump supported the measure, reading aloud a tweet from the president last month praising the measure as a move “to end the secrecy around ridiculously high drug prices.” The proposal is part of Trump’s plan to lower drug prices, something the president has been vocal about.
Republican Sen. Chuck Grassley (Iowa), who co-sponsored the measure with Durbin, tweeted Thursday that it is “EMBARRASSING to bow to BIG PHARMA at expense of consumers” and not include the provision.
Asked about the objections, Rep. Tom Cole (R-Okla.), the top health appropriator in the House, said he did not want to get into the details, but said that some House Republicans opposed the provision.
“Our friends in the House felt differently on this topic,” said Sen. Roy Blunt (R-Mo.), the top Senate health appropriator.
After failing to get the provision into the underlying funding bill on Thursday, Durbin offered it as an amendment before withdrawing it after other lawmakers said they did not want to jeopardize passage of the larger health funding bill by voting on the amendment.
A spokeswoman for House Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Greg Walden (R-Ore.), whose committee oversees drug pricing issues, said that he did not oppose the provision.
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