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 HawleyState probes of Google, Facebook to test century-old antitrust laws Cruz to oppose Trump appeals court pick Overnight Health Care: Juul's lobbying efforts fall short as Trump moves to ban flavored e-cigarettes | Facebook removes fact check from anti-abortion video after criticism | Poll: Most Democrats want presidential candidate who would build on ObamaCare MORE (R-Mo.), Marco RubioMarco Antonio Rubio The 13 Republicans needed to pass gun-control legislation GOP group's ad calls on Graham to push for election security: 'Are you still trying?' Former Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick joins CBS News as contributor MORE (R-Fla.), Ron JohnsonRonald (Ron) Harold JohnsonDemocratic senator warns O'Rourke AR-15 pledge could haunt party for years Conservatives offer stark warning to Trump, GOP on background checks Hillicon Valley: Google to promote original reporting | Senators demand answers from Amazon on worker treatment | Lawmakers weigh response to ransomware attacks MORE (R-Wis.), Mike BraunMichael BraunOvernight Energy: Trump administration to repeal waterway protections| House votes to block drilling in Arctic refuge| Administration takes key step to open Alaskan refuge to drilling by end of year Trump administration to repeal waterway protections Exclusive: Kushner tells GOP it needs to unify behind immigration plan MORE (R-Ind.), Kevin CramerKevin John CramerPrimary challenges show potential cracks in Trump's GOP Castro, Steyer join pledge opposing the Keystone XL pipeline EPA proposes rolling back states' authority over pipeline projects MORE (R-N.D.), Cindy Hyde-Smith (R-Miss.) and Dan SullivanDaniel Scott SullivanExclusive: Kushner tells GOP it needs to unify behind immigration plan Republicans grumble over Trump shifting military funds to wall Overnight 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 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.