WASHINGTON (Nexstar) – The Biden administration announced that Medicare will begin the process of directly negotiating prices for 10 different prescription drugs to bring healthcare costs down.
The Inflation Reduction Act that Biden signed in 2022 means Medicare will begin negotiating the price of prescription drugs for the first time.
Steven Hadfield, a Medicare beneficiary and cancer patient, said drug companies held all the power for too long.
“For too long, drug makers have made a fortune while patients like me live in constant fear wondering how we pay for our medicine,” Hadfield said. “”Thanks to President Biden, that’s changing. He’s finally ending Big Pharma’s one-sided pricing power and giving seniors like me a break.”
The White House announced Medicare will begin the price negotiation program with 10 drugs, including diabetes, heart failure and arthritis medications. Those drugs are among the most costly in the Medicare program and are taken by more than eight million people on Medicare Part D.
“We’ve been fighting Big Pharma for a long time,” Biden said.
White House Domestic Policy Advisor Neera Tanden noted these negotiations could benefit all Americans.
“There’s nothing that stops private insurance from using these prices once they’ve been negotiated,” Tanden said.
Even with the lower prices, the White House says drug manufacturers will still make a profit, but Juliette Cubanski with the Kaiser Family Foundation says pharmaceutical industry is suing to dismantle the program.
“The inflation reduction act and this negotiation program frankly represent, you know, a pretty big loss for the industry,” Cubanski said.
Brian Newell, with PhRMA — one of the groups that’s filed a lawsuit — stated “we’re now injecting politics into how much a treatment is worth and what treatments we should be pursuing.”
The White House says the new negotiated prices are expected to go into effect in 2026 depending on what happens with the lawsuits.