Democratic Presidential Candidate Sen. John Edwards Announces Rx Drug Cost Control Proposal
As expected, presidential candidate Sen. John Edwards (D-N.C.) yesterday unveiled a proposal to reduce prescription drug costs, the AP/Dallas Morning News reports (AP/Dallas Morning News, 6/6). Edwards outlined the proposal before an audience of 1,500 activists in Washington, D.C., at a conference sponsored by the advocacy group Campaign for America's Future (Brownstein, Los Angeles Times, 6/6). The proposal includes:
- New disclosure requirements for direct-to-consumer prescription drug advertisements, such as rules that would require pharmaceutical companies to include in the ads information about the effectiveness of the medication compared with similar products on the market;
- More authority for the FDA to fine companies that make false claims about their products or mislead consumers;
- Increased regulation of pharmacy benefit managers and a requirement that they disclose whether they have special agreements with pharmaceutical companies that might affect the selection of medications for their prescription drug lists;
- Increased negotiations between federal and state governments and pharmaceutical companies to obtain reduced prices on prescription drugs for Medicare and Medicaid beneficiaries;
- A review of prescription drug patent laws that could provide consumers with earlier access to generic medications;
- An investigation into whether pharmaceutical companies use federal research subsidies properly; and
- A comprehensive Department of Justice investigation into the practices that pharmaceutical companies use to set prices reported to government programs (California Healthline, 6/5).
Meanwhile, presidential candidate Sen. Joseph Lieberman (D-Conn.) on Wednesday discussed a $150 billion proposal to establish the American Center for Cures, which he said would provide funds to small pharmaceutical companies to research cures for chronic diseases, the AP/New Haven Register reports. He said that the proposal would help counter market forces that "currently cause drug makers to invest in big-ticket blockbuster drugs like Viagra or Rogaine." Under the proposal, the center would help companies in the patent and FDA approval processes and would provide funds for clinical trials, prescription drug development and other research areas over 10 years. However, some opponents said that many provisions in the proposal are "already addressed through the NIH and other federal initiatives," the AP/Register reports. Lieberman plans to introduce a broader health care proposal this summer (AP/New Haven Register, 6/5).This is part of the California Healthline Daily Edition, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.