WASHINGTON — A leading think tank aligned with the Democratic Party is laying the groundwork for an aggressive slate of efforts to lower drug prices that could be implemented almost immediately, should Joe Biden defeat President Trump in November.
In a report published Thursday, the Center for American Progress focuses on two major policy changes: the first-ever use of a controversial monopoly-busting mechanism known as “march-in-rights” to crack down on companies that overcharge for medicines, and the resurrection of an Obama-era proposal to change how Medicare pays for many drugs administered by doctors. It also lays out a handful of other regulatory tweaks that would not require congressional action.
March-in rights might work for inventions made by universities using government funding that the university licenses to a commercial entity. There the government plays no part in the license negotiations. Where the government has been a party to an agreement, like with remdesivir, if the government didn’t bargain for price reductions or any other benefits, throwing its weight and taking these concessions after the fact is unfair. It’s frustrating that government negotiators don’t seek a share of commercial benefits for the American people, and that should change. Just not by breaching existing agreements.
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