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 BookerSenate Dems to Pompeo: Comments about NPR reporter 'insulting and contemptuous' Black caucus in Nevada: 'Notion that Biden has all of black vote is not true' The Hill's 12:30 Report: House managers to begin opening arguments on day two MORE (D-N.J.) and Bernie SandersBernie SandersGOP Iowa senator suggests Trump impeachment defense could hurt Biden at caucuses On The Money: Stocks close with steep losses driven by coronavirus fears | Tax season could bring more refund confusion | Trump's new wins for farmers may not undo trade damage Sanders launches first TV ads in Nevada 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 HarrisBiden leads 2020 pack in congressional endorsements Harris on 2020 endorsement: 'I am not thinking about it right now' Panel: Is Kamala Harris a hypocrite for mulling a Joe Biden endorsement? 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 TrumpWarren: Dershowitz presentation 'nonsensical,' 'could not follow it' Bolton told Barr he was concerned Trump did favors for autocrats: report Dershowitz: Bolton allegations would not constitute impeachable offense 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 PelosiHouse passes bill aimed at bolstering Holocaust education Hillicon Valley — Presented by Philip Morris International — NFL social media accounts hacked | Dem questions border chief over controversial Facebook group | Clinton says Zuckerberg has 'authoritarian' views Meadows: Republicans who break with Trump could face political repercussions 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 McConnellRepublicans show little enthusiasm for impeachment witness swap Overnight Health Care — Presented by Philip Morris International — CDC, State Department warn against travel to China | Biden says Trump left US unprepared for epidemic | Justices allow Trump 'public charge' rule to move forward Progressive group targeting vulnerable GOP senators on impeachment witnesses MORE (R-Ky.) has not given his support to even a more modest bipartisan drug pricing measure from Sen. Chuck GrassleyCharles (Chuck) Ernest GrassleyTax season could bring more refund confusion Graham vows Biden, Ukraine probe after impeachment trial Social security emerges as latest flash point in Biden-Sanders tussle MORE (R-Iowa) and Sen. Ron WydenRonald (Ron) Lee WydenTax season could bring more refund confusion Hillicon Valley — Presented by Philip Morris International — Wyden asks NSA to investigate White House cybersecurity | Commerce withdraws Huawei rule after Pentagon objects | Warren calls on Brazil to drop Greenwald charges Wyden vows push to force release of Khashoggi assessment 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.