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WASHINGTON — The first Senate health committee markup under Chair Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) and ranking Republican Bill Cassidy (La.) was rocky from the start — and it only went downhill from there.

The committee was supposed to consider several bills to reform drug middlemen practices and make changes to laws governing generic drugs. But the markup was marred by procedural disagreements and ultimately adjourned unexpectedly, over Sanders’ efforts to continue.


The biggest fireworks came from Cassidy, who blasted Sanders for accepting last-minute changes to a package of PBM reforms that the pair had otherwise worked out together. For example, Sen. Margaret Hasan (D-N.H.) offered amendments that would let the Food and Drug Administration help generic drug makers get to the right concentration of inactive ingredients faster; make it easier to challenge brand drug makers’ patents; and stop brand drug makers from using patented post-market safety programs to delay generic approvals.

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