Booker, Sanders propose new federal agency to control drug prices

Booker, Sanders propose new federal agency to control drug prices
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Sens. Cory BookerCory Anthony BookerSenators push foreign media to disclose if they are registered as foreign agents Joe Biden must release the results of his cognitive tests — voters need to know GOP senators debate replacing Columbus Day with Juneteenth as a federal holiday MORE (D-N.J.) and Bernie SandersBernie SandersDemocratic senator will introduce bill mandating social distancing on flights after flying on packed flight Neil Young opposes use of his music at Trump Mt Rushmore event: 'I stand in solidarity with the Lakota Sioux' Democratic strategist Andrew Feldman says Biden is moving left MORE (I-Vt.) on Friday introduced a bill that would create a new federal agency focused on controlling the costs of prescription drugs. 

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The Prescription Drug Affordability and Access Act would form the Bureau of Prescription Drug Affordability and Access. 

The 2020 Democratic hopefuls were joined by fellow White House contender Sen. Kamala HarrisKamala Devi HarrisSenators push foreign media to disclose if they are registered as foreign agents Warnock raises almost M in Georgia Senate race in second quarter Liberal veterans group urges Biden to name Duckworth VP MORE (D-Calif.) as sponsors of the legislation. 

One of the main tenants of the proposal is that if a drug company did not comply with the regulations, it would void exclusivity protections, allowing other companies to produce generic copies of a drug.

The senators noted the legislation is one of the few bills to directly address a drug's list price, which is the cost before any discounts or rebates and is usually only paid by the uninsured. 

Under the bill, manufacturers planning to bring a new drug to the market would have to submit to the bureau the cost of research and development, the cost of the drug and of comparable medications in other countries and the federal investments that contributed to the drug's discovery and production.

The Bureau would review that information and other factors to determine an appropriate list price. 

The legislation is one of many ideas and legislation proposed to try to bring down prescription drug prices but is one of the most drastic introduced to date.

There is bipartisan interest in lowering the cost of prescription drugs, and President TrumpDonald John Trump Trump responds to calls to tear down monuments with creation of 'National Garden' of statues Trump: Children are taught in school to 'hate their own country' Trump accuses those tearing down statues of wanting to 'overthrow the American Revolution' MORE has made it a signature priority. But while Trump and lawmakers have railed against high drug prices and proposed some steps to address the issue, there have not been any major actions taken to date that have resulted in lower prices.

House Democrats are expected to vote next month on Speaker Nancy PelosiNancy PelosiOn The Money: Breaking down the June jobs report | The biggest threats facing the recovery | What will the next stimulus bill include? Military bases should not be renamed, we must move forward in the spirit of reconciliation Pelosi: Trump 'himself is a hoax' MORE's (D-Calif.) signature bill that would let Medicare negotiate drug prices. However, Republican opposition is likely to kill the bill in the Senate.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellPublic awareness campaigns will protect the public during COVID-19 Democrats: A moment in history, use it wisely 'Comrade' Trump gets 'endorsement' from Putin in new mock ad by Lincoln Project MORE (R-Ky.) has not given his support to even a more modest bipartisan drug pricing measure from Sen. Chuck GrassleyCharles (Chuck) Ernest GrassleyCongress gears up for battle over expiring unemployment benefits US, Mexico set for new post-NAFTA trade era Senators press IRS chief on stimulus check pitfalls MORE (R-Iowa) and Sen. Ron WydenRonald (Ron) Lee WydenCongress gears up for battle over expiring unemployment benefits Hillicon Valley: Senate panel advances bill targeting online child sexual abuse | Trump administration awards tech group contract to build 'virtual' wall | Advocacy groups urge Congress to ban facial recognition technologies Senate panel advances bill targeting online child sexual abuse MORE (D-Ore.).

Other 2020 candidates have spoken favorably of using so-called march-in rights to break a drug company's exclusive patent and allow a cheaper version from a competitor if a drug is priced too high. 

The agency is modeled after Canada's Patented Medicine Prices Review Board, which reviews whether a medication is overpriced, comparing the cost to similar medicines in other countries. 

Updated at 8:59 a.m.