Rep. Tauzin ‘Committed’ To Passing Health Legislation in Coming Months
Although the House has already passed legislation to provide Medicare prescription drug coverage, House Energy and Commerce Committee Chair Billy Tauzin (R-La.) said in an interview he is "committed to using the next few months to explore" remaining health care issues, including access to generic drugs, drug reimportation and medical technology reform, CongressDaily/AM reports. Tauzin said he is "particularly interested" in reforming the process through which brand-name drug patents are extended but did not "commit" to proposing legislation on the issue. He added that laws to increase access to generic drugs might not be necessary because "pharmacists are beginning to take a more active role" in convincing physicians to prescribe generic treatments, CongressDaily/AM reports. Tauzin said he also would like to focus House efforts on passing drug reimportation legislation that addresses "concern[s] about safety." In July, the Senate passed a bill (S 812) that would increase access to generic drugs through drug patent law reform. Finally, Tauzin said he plans to continue to negotiate an agreement on medical technology reform. Although Tauzin and Sen. Edward Kennedy (D-Mass.) came "within a hair" of reaching an agreement during debate on the bioterrorism preparedness bill in June, Tauzin said the structure of inspecting medical technology production facilities remains the "main sticking point" (Fulton, CongressDaily/AM, 9/6).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.