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Biden administration touts lower costs for 64 prescription drugs

The Biden administration on Wednesday announced some Medicare beneficiaries will save money on 64 prescription drugs for the third quarter of this year as part of a program intended to rein in massive price hikes. 

The Inflation Reduction Act (IRA), which President Biden and congressional Democrats ushered into law in 2022, requires drug companies to pay rebates to Medicare when prices increase faster than the rate of inflation for certain drugs. Health officials then adjust the cost of drugs that qualify for savings under the program. 

Biden has made lowering drug prices a key part of his agenda and a pillar of his reelection campaign, but polls have shown most voters have limited awareness of those efforts. The administration is focusing on pocketbook issues aimed at helping families keep expenses in check and tying health policies to Biden’s economic successes.  

“Without the Inflation Reduction Act, seniors were completely exposed to Big Pharma’s price hikes. Not anymore,” White House domestic policy advisor Neera Tanden said in a statement. 

The IRA contains a number of drug pricing provisions, including allowing Medicare to negotiate the prices of certain high cost drugs, as well as capping how much people with Medicare Part D spend on prescription drugs per year.  

Wednesday’s announcement comes a day ahead of the first general election presidential debate between Biden and former President Trump. Trump has also touted his work to lower drug prices, though the efforts were much more limited. 

The drugs announced Wednesday will have a lowered Part B coinsurance rate from July 1 to September 30, since each drug company raised prices faster than the rate of inflation. 

The list includes Bristol Myers Squibb’s Abecma, a cell therapy for multiple myeloma, and Pfizer’s targeted cancer treatment for certain lymphomas called Adectris. It also includes Astellas Pharma and Pfizer’s Padcev, a targeted cancer treatment for advanced bladder cancer. 

Health officials said more than 750,000 people with Medicare annually use these drugs, which treat conditions such as osteoporosis, cancer, and infections.  

As a result of the rebate program, people with Medicare could save more than $4,500 per day, the administration said.  

Source: The Hill

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