The House Ways and Means Health Subcommittee yesterday held a hearing on proposals to lower drug prices and promote new cures. 

Witness Ge Bai, an associate professor at Johns Hopkins University’s Carey Business School and Bloomberg School of Public Health, said Congress should require drug makers to disclose their financial relationships with independent patient assistance programs and patient advocacy organizations and their free drug samples to clinicians. She said these transactions “can undermine the best interests of patients and their insurance plans while benefiting drug manufacturers financially.”   

Juliana Keeping, communications director for Patients for Affordable Drugs and the mother of a child with cystic fibrosis, also urged Congress to “eliminate the need for patient assistance programs by making drug costs affordable and cost-sharing manageable.” 

Tara O’Neill Hayes, director of human welfare policy for the American Action Forum, called for changes to the Part D benefit to remove “perverse incentives for insurers and drug manufacturers to benefit from high-cost drugs.” 

Steven Tananbaum, a senior fellow for the Council on Foreign Relations, recommended Congress remove incentives for drug makers to move profits and production offshore.

In December, the House of Representatives passed H.R. 3, legislation that would make changes to the Medicare program in an effort to lower prescription drug prices. 

Subcommittee Ranking Member Devin Nunes, R-Calif., said both parties “can work together to lower drug prices for families without reducing cures, but H.R. 3 is not the answer.” Instead, he voiced support for H.R. 19
 

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