ICYMI: New York Times: Drug Industry Tries to Slip $4 Billion Windfall Into Opioid Bill
September 25, 2018
The pharmaceutical industry is trying to hijack a bill designed to address the nation’s opioid epidemic by claiming a $4 billion windfall for pharmaceutical companies. But Democrats are fighting back.
New York Times: Drug Industry Tries to Slip $4 Billion Windfall Into Opioid Bill
By Robert Pear
Drug companies usually get what they want in public-policy battles on Capitol Hill, but a move by the pharmaceutical industry to grab $4 billion from the federal Treasury in a bill that is supposed to address the nation’s deadly opioid epidemic is meeting fierce resistance.
At issue is a small measure that the Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America, or PhRMA, has deemed a “technical correction” to a bipartisan budget law signed by President Trump in February. The law required drug manufacturers to provide deeper discounts to Medicare beneficiaries whose spending on prescription drugs falls within a range called the coverage gap, or the “doughnut hole.” The discount, now 50 percent on brand-name drugs, is set to rise next year to 70 percent.
The change sought by the drug industry has nothing to do with the scourge of opioids, but such provisions are often tucked quietly into popular, swiftly moving bills, then discovered months later. In a sign of the times, members of Congress and consumer advocates quickly mobilized opposition.