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 HawleyIs there internet life after thirty? Republicans face critical test of integrity on drug price controls Hillicon Valley: Facebook releases audit on bias claims | Audit fails to calm critics | Federal agencies hit with fewer cyberattacks in 2018 | Huawei founder says company faces 'live or die' moment MORE (R-Mo.), Marco RubioMarco Antonio RubioGOP group calls on Republican senators to stand up to McConnell on election security in new ads What the gun safety debate says about Washington Trump moves forward with F-16 sale to Taiwan opposed by China MORE (R-Fla.), Ron JohnsonRonald (Ron) Harold JohnsonThe road not taken: Another FBI failure involving the Clintons surfaces GOP senator: Gun control debate 'hasn't changed much at all' back home GOP senators call for Barr to release full results of Epstein investigation MORE (R-Wis.), Mike BraunMichael BraunOvernight Energy: Trump EPA looks to change air pollution permit process | GOP senators propose easing Obama water rule | Green group sues EPA over lead dust rules The 23 Republicans who opposed Trump-backed budget deal Pair of GOP senators propose easing Obama water rule MORE (R-Ind.), Kevin CramerKevin John CramerCastro, Steyer join pledge opposing the Keystone XL pipeline EPA proposes rolling back states' authority over pipeline projects GOP senator held up Trump aide's confirmation to get info on border wall contracts MORE (R-N.D.), Cindy Hyde-Smith (R-Miss.) and Dan SullivanDaniel Scott SullivanOvernight Defense: Esper sworn in as Pentagon chief | Confirmed in 90-8 vote | Takes helm as Trump juggles foreign policy challenges | Senators meet with woman accusing defense nominee of sexual assault Alarm sounds over census cybersecurity concerns Senate sets new voting record with Iran war measure 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.