The HELP Committee advanced the Lower Health Care Costs Act of 2019 (S. 1895). While the bill deals with health care costs more broadly, it also contains provisions on drug pricing (such as the CREATES Act).
- The Committee adopted an amendment introduced by Senator Tammy Baldwin (D-WI) and Mike Brain (R-IN) on drug pricing transparency. The language includes a concerning provision to require drug companies to report confidential business information; however, Chairman Lamar Alexander (R-TN) has committed to seek improvements before the bill reaches the floor.
- The bill bans PBM “spread pricing,” mandates a number of transparency measures for PBMs, and authorizes a public health campaign to educate Americans on vaccines.
- Several Committee members had been contemplating amendments regarding prescription drug importation, and other potentially harmful proposals, but ultimately no such amendments were offered.
What’s next: Further changes are expected on this bill as it advances through the legislative process.