WASHINGTON — A key Senate panel is seriously considering a new policy that would soften the blow of drug pricing reform for small biotech companies, according to two sources familiar with the talks. But the concession isn’t likely to win over the biotech industry.
The change would be part of a package of broader drug pricing reforms from Senate Finance Committee Chairman Ron Wyden (D-Ore.), who promised, vaguely, to protect the smaller companies earlier this year. But the specifics of his policy have been unclear until now, as Democrats in both chambers of Congress look to include some kind of drug pricing reform in the massive government spending bill they’re debating in earnest.
The latest plan would change the way the provisions that let Medicare negotiate the price of certain medicines apply to drugs made by small biotech companies, according to two sources familiar with the talks. Whereas most new, negotiated prices would take effect immediately, if the health secretary chose to negotiate the price of a small biotech’s product, the lower, negotiated price would be phased in over several years. It is unclear if the overall phase-in policy would eventually sunset.
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