House Dems to begin considering drug pricing legislation next week

House Dems to begin considering drug pricing legislation next week
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House Democrats will begin considering legislation to lower drug prices at a hearing next week, moving forward on one of their top priorities, according to people familiar with the plan.

The House Energy and Commerce Committee will hold a legislative hearing on March 13 to consider bills to lower drug prices, the sources said.

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The measures are slated to be relatively smaller-scale bills that could get some bipartisan support, such as the Creates Act and “pay for delay” legislation, both of which aim to crack down on techniques drug companies use to delay the introduction of cheaper generic drugs.

Lowering drug prices is one of House Democrats' top priorities; Speaker Nancy PelosiNancy Patricia D'Alesandro PelosiPelosi, Dems plot strategy after end of Mueller probe Coons after Russia probe: House Dems need to use power in 'focused and responsible way' Trump, Congress brace for Mueller findings MORE (D-Calif.) frequently touts drug prices as at the top of the agenda, along with infrastructure and fighting the influence of money in politics.

President TrumpDonald John TrumpMueller report findings could be a 'good day' for Trump, Dem senator says Trump officials heading to China for trade talks next week Showdown looms over Mueller report MORE has also railed against the high cost of drugs, making the issue one of the rare areas where there could be some chance of bipartisan action.

The smaller-scale measures that Democrats will consider next week are part of a strategy to start with measures that are more likely to be bipartisan and get across the finish line before later moving on to bigger-ticket items like allowing Medicare to negotiate drug prices.

Still, any drug pricing measures always face a tough road, given the contentious nature of the issue and drug industry lobbying.

Committees in both the House and Senate have already held a slew of hearings on the issue of drug prices, but the Energy and Commerce hearing will be the first one this year to consider specific legislation.

In the Senate, Sen. Chuck GrassleyCharles (Chuck) Ernest GrassleyTreasury expands penalty relief to more taxpayers Overnight Health Care: Senators seek CBO input on preventing surprise medical bills | Oversight panel seeks OxyContin documents | Pharmacy middlemen to testify on prices | Watchdog warns air ambulances can put patients at 'financial risk' Drug prices are a matter of life and death MORE (R-Iowa), the chairman of the Finance Committee, also supports the Creates Act and “pay for delay” legislation, raising hopes that those bills could also get through the Senate, although that remains uncertain.