Healthcare

Warren unveils bill to lower drug prices by letting government manufacture them

Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) on Tuesday unveiled a bill aimed at lowering drug prices by allowing the government to step in and manufacture certain drugs that lack competition.

The bill from Warren, who is considered a likely 2020 presidential contender, comes as Democrats are putting forward a range of new ideas on how to lower drug prices, a top priority for the public and an issue that President Trump has also highlighted.

Warren's bill would create a new office in the Department of Health and Human Services that would be empowered to manufacture generic drugs itself and sell them at fair prices, if no company is already making the drug, or if one or two companies are making the drug and the prices spike.

"In market after market, competition is dying as a handful of giant companies spend millions to rig the rules, insulate themselves from accountability, and line their pockets at the expense of American families," Warren said in a statement.

Other possible Democratic presidential contenders have also been pointing to ideas to lower drug prices recently.

Sens. Kamala Harris (D-Calif.), Jeff Merkley (D-Ore.) and Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.) helped introduce a bill last week to allow the government to step in and stop certain price spikes for drugs.

And Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) unveiled a bill last month to strip drug companies of their monopolies if their prices are deemed excessive.

Warren's bill is different than some others in that it targets generic drugs, which are often thought of as cheap. But Warren's office said the generic drug market is "broken" and lacks competition, pointing to an investigation into a massive price-fixing scheme in the generic drug market. 

Rep. Jan Schakowsky (D-Ill.) introduced the bill in the House.

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