Sen. Brown introduces legislation to decrease prescription price - WFMJ.com News weather sports for Youngstown-Warren Ohio

Sen. Brown introduces legislation to decrease prescription prices

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In the ongoing effort to improve the Affordable Care Act, Senator Sherrod Brown and 13 other Democratic Senators introduced legislation aimed and bringing down the price of prescription drugs.

The Improving Access to Affordable Prescription Drug Act seeks to tackle prescription drug costs by increasing transparency and accountability, increasing access and affordability of some prescriptions and increasing choice options and competition.

"We can't ask Ohioans to choose between paying for medicine and putting gas in the tank or food on the table," Brown said. "President Trump said he wanted to lower drug costs and we're offering concrete proposals to make that happen."

A news release from Brown's office states the act would help ensure that drug companies put patients before profits and bring relief to families and seniors.

To increase transparency and accountability, the act would require drug manufacturers to disclose information such as manufacturing and marketing costs, acquisitions, federal investments, revenues and sales and other factors that influence drug prices.

This information would be reported to the Secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services who will make the information publicly available and searchable.

The act would also look at how patient assistance programs affect drug prices and look at the extent drug makers are using independent charity assistance programs to drive up profits.

The independent charity assistance programs would be required to disclose to the IRS the total amount of patient assistance provided to patients who are prescribed drugs manufactured by any contributor to the program. It also requires a study on the impact of patient assistance programs on prescription drug pricing and expenditures.

In order to make prescriptions more affordable, the act would require changes in drug prices to be monitored, and it would allow the Secretary of HHS to negotiate with drug companies to lower prices.

The Medicare Part D prescription coverage gap would be closed in 2018, two years earlier than under current law, and would require drug manufacturers to pay a larger share of costs during the coverage gap.

Prescription drug rebates would be restored for seniors who are dually eligible for Medicare and Medicaid and extends these rebates to other Medicare patients in Medicare low-income subsidy plans.

Beginning in 2019, prescription drug cost sharing would be capped at $250 per month for individuals and $500 per month for families enrolled in qualified health plans.

The act would work to foster innovation, including creating a $2 billion prize fund to fund entities that develop superior antibiotics that treat serious and life-threatening bacterial infections and to fund research to advance treatments.

In order to increase competition, the act would make it illegal for brand name and generic drug manufacturers to enter into anti-competitive agreements where the brand-name manufacturer pays the generic manufacturer to keep more affordable generic equivalents off the market.

The legislation was introduced by U.S. Sens. Al Franken (D-MN), Bernie Sanders (I-VT.), Sheldon Whitehouse (D-R.I.), Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.), Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.), Tammy Baldwin (D-Wis.), Jack Reed (D-R.I.), Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.), Maggie Hassan (D-N.H.), Dick Durbin (D-Ill.), Chris Van Hollen (D-Md.), Jeff Merkley (D-Ore.), and Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.).

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