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 HawleyAgencies play catch-up over security concerns with TikTok Typical income no longer covers major costs: Study Senate Democrats introduce legislation to change impeachment trial rules MORE (R-Mo.), Marco RubioMarco Antonio RubioOvernight Energy: Critics pile on Trump plan to roll back major environmental law | Pick for Interior No. 2 official confirmed | JPMorgan Chase to stop loans for fossil fuel drilling in the Arctic MacGregor confirmed as Interior deputy chief GOP casts Sanders as 2020 boogeyman MORE (R-Fla.), Ron JohnsonRonald (Ron) Harold JohnsonWhistleblower retaliation: Stop confusing unlawful attacks with politics Congress looks to strengthen hand in State Department following impeachment Senate braces for fight over impeachment whistleblower testimony MORE (R-Wis.), Mike BraunMichael BraunOvernight Health Care: Ernst endorses bipartisan bill to lower drug prices | US partnering with drugmakers on coronavirus vaccine | UN chief says virus poses 'enormous' risks Senators, bruised by impeachment, hunt for deals Plan to probe Bidens sparks GOP divisions MORE (R-Ind.), Kevin CramerKevin John CramerHillicon Valley: Twitter falling short on pledge to verify primary candidates | Barr vows to make surveillance reforms after watchdog report | DHS cyber chief focused on 2020 Barr says he'll make surveillance reforms after damning watchdog report Trump Fed nominee stirs controversy ahead of hearing MORE (R-N.D.), Cindy Hyde-Smith (R-Miss.) and Dan SullivanDaniel Scott SullivanSwing votes steal spotlight in marathon Trump impeachment Q&A Live coverage: Senators enter second day of questions in impeachment trial The Hill's Campaign Report: Ten days to Iowa 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.