Senate Judiciary Committee: “Intellectual Property and the Price of Prescription Drugs: Balancing Innovation and Competition”
Tuesday, May 7, 2019: The Senate Judiciary Committee held a hearing on practices by drug manufacturers to delay the patent system and extend monopolies on prescription drugs. Find witness testimonies, live feed and other information here.
Why this is important: There appeared to be broad agreement on the CREATES Act of 2019, as Judiciary Committee Chair Lindsey Graham (R-SC) said he expects the committee will move on legislation related to patents and prescription drug pricing this year.
Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP) Committee: “Implementing the 21st Century Cures Act: Making Electronic Health Information Available to Patients and Providers, Part II”
Tuesday, May 7, 2019: The Senate HELP committee held the second hearing in a series on electronic health information and further implementing the 21st Century Cures Act. Witnesses include Dr. Don Rucker, the national coordinator for Health Information Technology at the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), and Dr. Kate Goodrich, the director and Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) chief medical officer. Find witness testimonies, live feed and other information here.
Why this is important: Senate HELP Committee Chairman Sen. Lamar Alexander (R-TN) called on the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) to consider delaying the implementation of two new interoperability rules with expectations to prohibition against information blocking and standardized criteria for application programming interface (API) development. Echoing the March hearing, senators expressed concern on how HHS will ensure patient data are protected once they can be shared with third-party apps.
Senate Committee on Finance: “Medicare Physician Payment Reform After Two Years: Examining MACRA Implementation and the Road Ahead”
Wednesday, May 8, 2019: The Senate Finance Committee held a hearing to evaluate how well the Medicare Access and CHIP Reauthorization Act (MACRA) of 2015 is meeting its goals in reforming physician payments and to discuss ways to improve the law’s implementation. Find witness testimonies, live feed and other information here.
Why this is important: The hearing examined the Medicare Access and CHIP Reauthorization Act (MACRA) of 2015 and assessed how well that reform legislation is meeting its goals of improving quality of care and value for taxpayers. Ranking Member Ron Wyden (D-OR) said that the committee was concerned about how rural areas will fit with respect to innovative payment models moving forward.
House Committee on Appropriations: “Full Committee Markup of FY2020 Labor, Health and Human Services, Education, and Related Agencies”
Wednesday, May 8, 2019: The House Committee on Appropriations held a markup to consider the Report on the Suballocation of Budget Allocations for FY 2020 and Full Committee Markup of the Labor, Health and Human Services, Education Appropriations Bill. Find a summary of the markup here.
House Committee on Energy and Commerce: “Lowering Prescription Drug Prices: Deconstructing the Drug Supply Chain”
Thursday, May 9, 2019: The House Committee on Energy and Commerce held a hearing on the drug supply chain, including drug manufacturers, pharmacy benefit managers (PBMs), insurers, hospitals, pharmacies and patients—all represented by the witnesses testifying. The purpose of the hearing was to discuss the root causes of high prescription drug costs, how prices are set and how each supply chain member can help lower prices. Find witness testimonies, live feed and other information here.
Why this is important: Witnesses from the pharmaceutical industry cited pharmacy benefit managers (PBMs) and the current rebate structure for high drug prices as part of the problem. PBM representatives called on the manufacturers to lower their list prices. The same debate took place in previous hearings in efforts to lower prescription drug prices.
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