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 HawleySenate passes legislation supporting Hong Kong protesters Hillicon Valley: Progressives oppose funding bill over surveillance authority | Senators call for 5G security coordinator | Facebook gets questions over location tracking | Louisiana hit by ransomware attack Senators demand info on tech firms' efforts to curb content depicting child exploitation MORE (R-Mo.), Marco RubioMarco Antonio RubioSenate passes legislation supporting Hong Kong protesters Senators voice support for Iran protesters but stop short of taking action McConnell urges Trump to voice support for Hong Kong protesters MORE (R-Fla.), Ron JohnsonRonald (Ron) Harold JohnsonDem senator says Zelensky was 'feeling the pressure' to probe Bidens Former Bush aide defends Vindman, criticizes GOP congressmen for 'defaming' him Bipartisan senators urge national security adviser to appoint 5G coordinator MORE (R-Wis.), Mike BraunMichael BraunImpeachment hearings don't move needle with Senate GOP GOP senators balk at lengthy impeachment trial Senate GOP waves Trump off early motion to dismiss impeachment charges MORE (R-Ind.), Kevin CramerKevin John CramerGOP divided over impeachment trial strategy GOP senators balk at lengthy impeachment trial GOP senators plan to tune out impeachment week MORE (R-N.D.), Cindy Hyde-Smith (R-Miss.) and Dan SullivanDaniel Scott SullivanRomney, Collins, Murkowski only Senate GOP holdouts on Graham's impeachment resolution GOP worries it's losing impeachment fight Senate GOP introduces resolution condemning House impeachment inquiry 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.