The Biden administration on Tuesday said the makers of the 10 initial drugs chosen for Medicare’s price negotiation program have agreed to participate in the historic Initiative. The Pharmaceutical companies agreed to be part of the negotiation despite a reasonable number of them suing the Biden administration over a new law authorizing the negotiation.
Biden administration took a major step towards lower health costs for seniors and families. In August, the Centre for Medicare and Medical Services (CMS) announced the first ten drugs selected for Medicare drug price negotiation under the Inflation Reduction Act (IRA).
Oct 1st was the deadline given to the manufacturers of these ten drugs to decide whether they are going to participate in the negotiation Initiative, and the deadline to submit manufacturer-specific data to CMS was October 2nd.
In his address today, Biden made it known that he was happy to announce that the manufacturers of the ten drugs are ready to come to the negotiating table to lower prices. In his words, he said they are taking steps to participate in the negotiation program so we can give seniors the best possible deal.
Despite zero Republican votes in favor of the bill, President Biden and the Congressional Democrats finally beat Big Pharma and allowed Medicare to directly negotiate lower drug prices bypassing the Inflation Reduction Act.
These ten selected drugs are used in the treatment of some common ailments like Diabetes, Cancer, Blood clots, Arthritis, and other conditions. These drugs economically accounted for $3.4 billion in out-of-pocket costs for an estimated 9 million Medicare enrollees in 2022.
Drug Makers Legal Battle To Overturn The Process
Meanwhile, despite the negotiation, several other drug manufacturers are suing the Biden administration over the new law authorizing the negotiation. Even after the industry lost its first legal battle on Friday, it seems the manufacturers are not giving up on their legal quest to Overturn the new law.
Manufacturers and industry groups have filed multiple suits in Federal Courts across the US, it was stated that the program was unconstitutional by the majority of the groups, and some said they were forced to participate in the negotiation.
Bristol Myers Squibb spokesperson said they have no choice but to sign the agreement, otherwise, we’d be made to pay high penalties unless we withdraw our drugs from Medicare or Medicaid, this is not a real choice.
Merck said it was signing the agreement under protest, stating further, though we disagree with the inflation reduction act, withdrawing our drugs from Medicare or Medicaid will have devastating effects on the millions of Americans who rely on our innovative medicine. It is not even tenable for any manufacturers to abandon half of the US prescription market.
Medicare: It is a US government health insurance program that covers people aged 65 and above, younger ones with disabilities, and people with end-stage renal disease.
Medicaid: This is a US government program that provides health insurance for adults and children with limited income and resources.
Three in ten Americans struggle to get appropriate drugs to treat a particular ailment or the other as a result of cost or nonaffordability. For years, big Pharma fought to block Medicare from negotiating lower drug prices for seniors and other Medicare beneficiaries. President Biden and Congressional Democrats finally beat the manufacturers by passing the Inflation Reduction Act that compelled the makers to come to the negotiation table for lower drug prices that will give seniors easy affordability access to purchase prescribed drugs.
Drug Makers that do not agree with the new law will have to pay 95% of the medications’ US sales or pull all their products from the Medicare and Medicaid markets.
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