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 GrassleyGOP senator draws fire from all sides on Biden, Obama-era probes Senate leaves until September without coronavirus relief deal COVID-19 relief talks look dead until September  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 WydenHillicon Valley: Simulated cyberattack success | New bill for election security funding | Amazon could be liable for defective products Markets rise as economy struggles; 'It does not make sense' Election security advocates see strong ally in Harris MORE (Ore.), to try to find a path forward on an issue that is a priority for Democrats and President TrumpDonald John TrumpUPS, FedEx shut down calls to handle mail-in ballots, warn of 'significant' problems: report Controversial GOP Georgia candidate attempts to distance from QAnon Trump orders TikTok parent company to sell US assets within 90 days 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.”