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House GOP unveils alternative drug pricing measure ahead of Pelosi vote

House GOP unveils alternative drug pricing measure ahead of Pelosi vote
© Greg Nash

House Republicans on Monday unveiled a measure aimed at lowering drug prices, casting it as a bipartisan alternative to the sweeping bill that Democrats plan to vote on this week. 

Republicans said they designed their measure to include only policies that both parties can agree to, saying Congress could pass their bipartisan bill rather than the Democratic legislation, which is expected to pass on a largely party-line vote. 

The Republican legislation is significantly smaller-scale than the Democratic bill. It does not include anything that Republicans deem “price controls” for drugs, which the GOP argues would hinder the development of new treatments. 

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The Democratic bill, in contrast, would limit drug prices based on the prices paid in other countries and allow for the government to negotiate lower prices, both ideas opposed by House Republicans. 

Rep. Greg WaldenGregory (Greg) Paul WaldenHere are the three GOP lawmakers who voted for the Equality Act Lobbying world Bottom line MORE (Ore.), the top Republican on the House Energy and Commerce Committee, said the GOP bill would “bring down the cost of medicines while not upending the incredible innovation that's centered here in the U.S.”

The measure is also sponsored by Reps. Kevin BradyKevin Patrick BradyForeign perpetrators among fraudsters shamming state's unemployment systems Biden nominee previews post-Trump trade agenda New CDC guidance ends up deepening debate over reopening schools MORE (R-Texas), Virginia FoxxVirginia Ann FoxxGOP scrutiny intensifies on firing of NLRB top attorney Biden fires Trump-era NLRB counsel Biden asks for resignation of NLRB counsel: report MORE (R-N.C.) and Doug CollinsDouglas (Doug) Allen CollinsThe Hill's Morning Report - Presented by The AIDS Institute - Finger-pointing on Capitol riot; GOP balks at Biden relief plan Perdue rules out 2022 Senate bid against Warnock Loeffler leaves door open to 2022 rematch against Warnock MORE (R-Ga.), the top Republicans on other committees that oversee health care. 

Given Democratic control of the House, the Republican bill is not expected to pass, but it does provide a marker for some policies that could be agreeable to both parties and could be included in larger packages like government funding measures.

The bill includes a range of measures, such as capping out-of-pocket drug costs for seniors on Medicare, cracking down on tactics drug companies use to delay competition from cheaper generic drugs and requiring drug companies to submit justifications to the government for large price hikes. 

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While the pharmaceutical industry is far more opposed to the Democratic bill, there are some provisions in the Republican bill that the industry opposes as well, such as a provision requiring drug prices to be listed in TV advertisements for drugs. 

President TrumpDonald TrumpSacha Baron Cohen calls out 'danger of lies, hate and conspiracies' in Golden Globes speech Sorkin uses Abbie Hoffman quote to condemn Capitol violence: Democracy is 'something you do' Ex-Trump aide Pierson planning run for Congress MORE is supporting a bipartisan drug pricing bill in the Senate from Sens. Chuck GrassleyChuck GrassleyGrassley to vote against Tanden nomination Grassley says he'll decide this fall whether to run in 2022 Yellen deputy Adeyemo on track for quick confirmation MORE (R-Iowa) and Ron WydenRonald (Ron) Lee WydenSenate Democrats nix 'Plan B' on minimum wage hike Senate mulls changes to .9 trillion coronavirus bill House Democrats pass sweeping .9T COVID-19 relief bill with minimum wage hike MORE (D-Ore.), but House Republicans oppose a key provision of that deal. 

That provision would require drug companies to pay money back to Medicare if their prices rose faster than the rate of inflation. Many Republicans view that as a “price control,” but Wyden and Democrats say that provision is crucial to the bipartisan deal. 

Walden said Monday he is “not a fan” of that provision because it is “government-run price controls,” but he noted there are many other areas of overlap between the House Republican bill and the Grassley-Wyden legislation.