As Congress returns, lawmakers rush to detail drug-pricing agendas

Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-IA), the new chair of the Senate Finance Committee, has attached his name to a trio of bills meant to lower drug costs, many of which have stalled in past sessions but that now enjoy renewed enthusiasm. One is a Grassley proposal with Sen.

Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-IA), the new chair of the Senate Finance Committee, has attached his name to a trio of bills meant to lower drug costs, many of which have stalled in past sessions but that now enjoy renewed enthusiasm. One is a Grassley proposal with Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-MN) that would allow Americans to import drugs from Canada for personal use. Grassley said Wednesday that he would bring back two other bills on the topic with Democrats: the CREATES Act, which aims to crack down on anticompetitive behavior from brand-name manufacturers, and a bill to ban the practice of "pay-for-delay," when companies pay generic manufacturers to delay production of off-patent drugs, as two other top priorities. Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) is set to unveil his own drug pricing proposals on Thursday, one of which is conceptually similar to a Trump administration international reference pricing proposal. Sanders' version includes a provision that could strip drug companies of exclusive licenses if negotiations stall. In a Republican-controlled Senate, many of the more ambitious pieces of legislation are unlikely to become law, but as the White House continues to agitate on drug costs and with Democrats in control of the House of Representatives, many on Capitol Hill believe both parties have incentive to pass legislation in the next 2 years.