House set to vote on bill cracking down on drug companies overcharging Medicaid

Greg Nash

The House is expected to vote next week on a bill to crack down on drug companies that overcharge the government, according to two House aides.

The bipartisan bill is aimed at stopping a repeat of the actions from Mylan, the maker of EpiPen, which made headlines last year for overcharging the Medicaid program for its commonly used product by as much as $1.27 billion over 10 years.

{mosads}The bill, from Sens. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) and Ron Wyden (D-Ore.), allows the government to fine drug companies that misclassify their drugs as generics in order to give smaller discounts to the government.

Mylan paid a settlement of $465 million last year for misclassifying the EpiPen in that way.

“This legislation is a significant step forward to fixing the problems in our health care system that have allowed pharmaceutical manufacturers to price gouge taxpayers and consumers for too long,” Grassley said in a statement earlier this week upon introducing the bill.

The rare congressional action on drug prices could be a sign of things to come next year, when Democrats hope to take much more sweeping action after taking control of the House.

Grassley, who is often willing to oppose drug companies, is also taking over the Senate Finance Committee, where he could move forward on additional drug-pricing legislation.

Wyden has said he hopes the legislation could become law by the end of the year. It is expected to pass the House next week as part of a larger package that includes the ACE Kids Act, a bipartisan bill aimed at improving care for children with complex medical needs.

The Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America, the main trade group for drug companies, said it is still reviewing the Grassley-Wyden legislation, but that it has “concerns.” The group warned the bill could allow Medicaid to drop coverage of a drug erroneously if there is a dispute over whether a company is overcharging or not.

Tags Chuck Grassley Ron Wyden

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