(NewsSpace.com) – When then-candidate Joe Biden ran for president in 2020, he made a campaign promise that he would fight for more affordable prescription medications, especially for seniors. With 10 pharmaceutical companies set to sit at the proverbial negotiation table with Medicare, it seems as though this might come to fruition.
On October 3, the US Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) issued a press release announcing that the companies selected for the first round of negotiations “have decided to participate.” This includes major names such as Janssen Pharms, Bristol Myers Squibb, AstraZeneca AB, and Immunex Corporation among others.
HHS Secretary Xavier Becerra applauded the move, saying that the discussions provide the administration with “a critical tool to ensure [Americans with Medicare] get those prescription drugs at lower prices.” Medicare has the authority to negotiate for the first time in US history thanks to the Inflation Reduction Act.
The prescriptions up for negotiation are those covered by Medicare’s Part D. They are among the top 50 sold and most Americans cannot afford them. They’re used to treat afflictions such as arthritis, diabetes, blood clots, heart failure, and Crohn’s Disease. Between June 1, 2022, and May 31 of this year, these medications resulted in revenues of $50.5 billion. Of that, consumers paid out-of-pocket costs of $3.4 billion.
The discussions will take place for the remainder of this year and into 2024. The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services will post the agreed-upon prices posted in September of next year. The costs will take effect in 2026.
That is just the first round of negotiations slated to take place. The next round will include 15 more covered under Part D for 2027, 15 covered under Parts B and D for 2028, and then 20 prescription drugs each year after that.
Not all of Big Pharma is on board. Johnson & Johnson and Merck, two prominent companies in the industry, have filed several lawsuits to combat President Joe Biden’s plan.
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