June 02,2020

ICYMI: Long-Delayed Drug-Price Bill Not Dead Yet, Grassley Says

By Riley Griffin and Emma Court
Published June 1, 2020
Senate Finance Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley said that he intends to push for a vote this year on a bill that would limit drug-price increases, even as pharmaceutical companies race to find treatments and vaccines for Covid-19.
“There’s no better time to address this issue,” said Grassley, an Iowa Republican and a co-sponsor of the drug-price legislation, in an interview on Monday. Grassley pointed to the need to prepare for future pandemics and keep “bad actors” in the drug industry “from hiking prices astronomically” in future health crises.
If the bill doesn’t pass, Grassley worries drugmakers will charge “whatever they want to” for Covid-19 products.
“It will be the Wild West,” he said.
Grassley said he asked President Donald Trump last week in a closed-door meeting if the president was still interested in drug-pricing legislation given “the pandemic has taken the oxygen out of Washington.”
Trump, who has previously supported the bill, gave an “emphatic yes,” according to Grassley, who said he will meet with top leadership at the White House within days to hatch a plan for pushing forward.

In March, Grassley and Oregon Democratic Senator Ron Wyden, the ranking member on the Finance Committee, released an analysis from the Congressional Budget Office that found their prescription-drug bill would save taxpayers $95 billion over the next decade. Those savings will be all the more important in the wake of economic devastation caused by the pandemic, Grassley said.