GOP senators ask PhRMA for solutions to lower drug prices

GOP senators ask PhRMA for solutions to lower drug prices
© Greg Nash

A group of eight Republican senators is writing to pharmaceutical companies asking them what solutions they have for lowering drug prices.

The letter to the Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America released Thursday, led by Sen. Rick Scott (R-Fla.), says the lawmakers are looking for “cooperation” from drug companies as they seek to lower drug prices.

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“We write today to ask, as the trade association representing the pharmaceutical industry, what solutions does your association have that would increase transparency and directly lower the list price of drugs for consumers?” the senators write. “What specific plans do you have to address price disparities in the international market? And are you willing to work with us to find real solutions to help the American people?”

Lowering drug prices is an area of intense interest in both parties, and a rare issue where bipartisan action is possible this year.

Some Democratic lawmakers are taking a more confrontational approach than the senators on Thursday’s letter, saying that they want to pass legislation to lower prices no matter that drug companies want.

The GOP senators on the letter say they want drug companies' cooperation in lowering prices.

“Soaring drug prices are a serious problem and a problem Washington should have addressed long ago,” the senators write. “We cannot understand why Americans pay two to six times more than the rest of the world for brand name prescription drugs or why the U.S. comprised 42% of global pharmaceutical revenues based on 2016 data.”

In addition to Scott, Sens. Josh HawleyJoshua (Josh) David HawleyRepublicans fear backlash over Trump's threatened veto on Confederate names McConnell: Trump shouldn't veto defense bill over renaming Confederate bases Trump warns of defense bill veto over military base renaming amendment MORE (R-Mo.), Marco RubioMarco Antonio RubioCongress eyes tighter restrictions on next round of small business help Trump administration eyes new strategy on COVID-19 tests ACLU calls on Congress to approve COVID-19 testing for immigrants MORE (R-Fla.), Ron JohnsonRonald (Ron) Harold JohnsonCongress eyes tighter restrictions on next round of small business help Republicans fear backlash over Trump's threatened veto on Confederate names GOP senators debate replacing Columbus Day with Juneteenth as a federal holiday MORE (R-Wis.), Mike BraunMichael BraunGridlock mires chances of police reform deal Pelosi says GOP 'trying to get away with murder' on police reform bill GOP senator introducing bill to scale back qualified immunity for police MORE (R-Ind.), Kevin CramerKevin John CramerGOP skeptical of polling on Trump Senate passes sanctions bill targeting China over Hong Kong law Cruz urges Trump to support Israeli annexation MORE (R-N.D.), Cindy Hyde-Smith (R-Miss.) and Dan SullivanDaniel Scott SullivanUS security starts in the Arctic Senate confirms nation's first African American service chief GOP senators urge Trump not to restrict guest worker visas MORE (R-Alaska) signed the letter.

Scott and Hawley are sponsors of legislation that would prevent drug companies from charging higher prices in the United States than they do in other wealthy countries. That approach departs from standard free-market Republican orthodoxy on drug prices and has drawn concern from some other GOP senators.