Top GOP senator working on bipartisan drug price bill for mid-June

Top GOP senator working on bipartisan drug price bill for mid-June
© Greg Nash

Senate Finance Committee Chairman Chuck GrassleyCharles (Chuck) Ernest Grassley'Mike Pounce' trends on Twitter after Trump slip at GOP retreat Cruz warns GOP support for expanded background checks could help elect Warren president Lawmakers applaud Trump's ban on flavored e-cigarettes MORE (R-Iowa) said this week that he is aiming to introduce bipartisan legislation by mid-June to lower drug prices.

Grassley, who made the announcement Thursday during a speech in Iowa, said he is working with the top Democrat on his committee, Sen. Ron WydenRonald (Ron) Lee WydenProgressive tax-the-rich push gains momentum Key Senate Democrat unveils proposal to tax the rich Overnight Health Care: Trump seeks ban on flavored e-cigarettes | Purdue Pharma nears settlement with states, cities over alleged role in opioid epidemic | Senate panel cancels vote on key spending bill amid standoff MORE (Ore.), to try to find a path forward on an issue that is a priority for Democrats and President TrumpDonald John TrumpTed Cruz knocks New York Times for 'stunning' correction on Kavanaugh report US service member killed in Afghanistan Pro-Trump website edited British reality star's picture to show him wearing Trump hat MORE.

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“We are writing legislation to address some of the systemic problems that make prescription drugs unaffordable for some Americans,” Grassley said in the speech, according to prepared remarks. “I expect that legislation to be ready for introduction in mid-June of this year.”

Wyden's office on Friday confirmed that the two senators are working together on a bill.

Grassley’s effort is being closely watched to see how far he will go in taking on drug companies to help lower prices. Grassley is well known for his willingness to support some legislation opposed by the pharmaceutical industry, but he has so far stopped short of endorsing Democrats’ No. 1 priority on the issue: allowing Medicare to negotiate drug prices.

Details are scant on the legislation Grassley and Wyden are working on.

The pair convened three hearings earlier this year to examine drug prices, including a high-profile event in February where drug company CEOs testified.

“I’ve heard from people all over the state of Iowa about high prescription drug prices,” Grassley said in Thursday's speech to the Global Insurance Symposium. “I’ve heard stories of people leaving their prescriptions at the drug store counter or rationing their insulin in order to make ends meet. Both of these are prescriptions for bad health care outcomes.”