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Senator Hassan Helps Advance Bipartisan Bill to Take on the Health Care Industry & Reduce Prescription Drug Prices

WASHINGTON – Senator Maggie Hassan (D-NH) voted today to advance a bipartisan bill she helped develop to reduce the cost of prescription drugs. The Modernizing and Ensuring PBM Accountability Act, which passed the Finance Committee today on a bipartisan basis, reduces the cost incentive for pharmacy benefit managers to prioritize more expensive drugs because they receive higher payouts for higher priced drugs.

“Last year, we took on Big Pharma by giving Medicare the ability to negotiate drug prices, and we must continue to stand up to the health care industry and help people afford the medications that they need,” said Senator Hassan. “This bipartisan legislation will ensure that pharmacy benefit managers don’t push people to more expensive drugs just so that they can get a larger payout, saving seniors their hard-earned money while also saving taxpayer dollars.”

The bipartisan Modernizing and Ensuring PBM Accountability Act will lower prescription drug costs and is estimated to save $1.7 billion in taxpayer dollars. It reforms pharmacy benefit manager practices and transparency requirements as part of Medicare Part D:

  • Pharmacy benefit managers often prioritize coverage of more expensive drugs because part of their compensation is calculated through the list prices of drugs. This legislation will break the link between drug prices and how much pharmacy benefit managers are paid, so there is no longer a financial incentive for these companies to push patients to buy more expensive medication
  • This legislation will ban the practice of “spread pricing” in Medicaid, in which pharmacy benefit managers negotiate a lower price with a pharmacy but charge a higher price to the health plan, pocketing the difference
  • The legislation also includes a bipartisan measure that Senator Hassan led to ensure that pharmacy benefit managers report transparently on how they price low-cost generics and biosimilar medications, allowing more visibility into whether people can easily access these generics

The bipartisan bill is part of Senator Hassan’s ongoing efforts to expand access to low-cost generic medications. The most recent government funding bill, which is now law, included three bipartisan measures backed by Senator Hassan to increase access to generic and biosimilar medications. In addition, Senator Hassan led successful bipartisan efforts to help eliminate surprise medical billing, which has prevented at least 9 million surprise bills. Additionally, the Inflation Reduction Act included a number of key provisions that Senator Hassan pushed for to take on Big Pharma and address the skyrocketing cost of prescription drugs, including allowing Medicare to negotiate prescription drug prices – which will bring down the cost of prescription drugs for Medicare beneficiaries and help drive down prices across the board – and capping out-of-pocket expenses for Medicare prescription drugs. In May, the Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions Committee voted on a strong bipartisan basis, 19-2, to pass Senator Hassan’s key bill to get generics to market more quickly, which will help lower prescription drug prices.