End-of-year package includes provisions from Senator Murray’s Lower Health Care Costs Act to tear down barriers that keep cheaper generic drugs off the market
Murray to continue pressing for additional impactful steps to bring down drug costs for patients—including Medicare negotiation
Murray: “After years of skyrocketing drug prices, patients cannot afford to keep waiting for further action to finally get this problem under control.”
(Washington, D.C.) – Today, Senator Patty Murray (D-WA), a top Democrat on the Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions (HELP) Committee, released the following statement on the inclusion of steps she pushed for to lower drug prices in the omnibus which passed the Senate yesterday.
“I’m pleased we were able to pass important steps today to help lower prescription drug costs, and I hope to build on this progress with even more impactful steps soon. The bill we passed today includes provisions to tear down barriers which can keep cheaper generic drugs from coming to market.
“However, our work is not done. We know there are still other ways pharmaceutical companies game the system that must be reformed, and there are even more impactful steps, like Medicare negotiation, that can force them to bring down prices. I look forward to working with the Biden-Harris Administration to take additional steps to bring down prescription drug costs for families. After years of skyrocketing drug prices, patients cannot afford to keep waiting for further action to finally get this problem under control.”
The omnibus that passed the Senate today includes provisions that close a loophole and ensure that drug companies must prove their “orphan drugs,” drugs used to treat especially rare diseases, are clinically superior before getting market exclusivity, give FDA new authorities to modernize outdated labeling of generic drugs, and facilitate the development and approval of biosimilar products by increasing the transparency of patent information for brand biological products.
Separately, the Senate also recently passed another provision first included in Senator Murray’s Lower Health Care Costs Act to encourage drug development by clarifying the information that FDA must include in the Orange Book about patents and exclusivities for approved drugs and must remove when the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office or a court determines a patent or patent claim is cancelled or invalid.
In addition to provisions to lower prescription drug prices, the omnibus also included steps from the Lower Health Care Costs Act Senator Murray fought for to end surprise billing, build vaccine confidence, prevent obesity, strengthen public health data systems, increase access to specialized health care services in underserved areas, and bolster Native American suicide prevention.