Big Pharma’s About-Face: Landmark Negotiations Promise Relief for Medicare Drug Prices

In a surprising turn, the manufacturers of the 10 high-cost drugs, selected for negotiation through Medicare under a fresh policy, are all on board!

That’s right! President Joe Biden announced, “The manufacturers of ten drugs are coming to the negotiating table to lower prices.” Here’s hoping they’re ready to make real moves and not just PR stunts. We know how crucial it is to get seniors the best deals, especially when it comes to health.

The lineup of these 10 medications might give you some pause; they eat up a whopping 20% of Medicare Part D prescription costs. Whether it’s diabetes, heart failure, blood cancer, or Crohn’s disease, these drugs represent a significant spectrum of conditions that affect many Americans.

But don’t kick back just yet. This is just the tip of the iceberg. The administration promises that around 60 more medications will enter this program within the next four years.

Let’s recall: the power for Medicare to negotiate drug prices got the green light through the Inflation Reduction Act passed last year. And what does the nation think about this? A solid 76% are all for government negotiation on drug prices, while a measly 6% oppose. Sounds pretty clear where the public stands!

Now, for the twist in the tale: Despite drug companies agreeing to participate, several are suing the administration. Their claim? That this policy violates their constitutional rights. But here’s the kicker – just days ago, U.S. District Court Judge Michael Newman (a Trump appointee, by the way) was not buying what Big Pharma’s selling. Newman stated in no uncertain terms that there’s no constitutional right to do business with the federal government. Ouch!

Peter Maybarduk from Public Citizen remarked, “This is the first major blow to Big Pharma in its legal battles to block the drug price negotiation provisions under the Inflation Reduction Act.” Well, we say it’s about time!

However, before we start popping the champagne, it’s crucial to remember that real, tangible change will take time. Negotiations officially kick off in February 2024, with the restructured drug prices not coming into play until 2026 (fingers crossed no lawsuits halt this process).