Congress has passed legislation sponsored by U.S. Senator Claire McCaskill, D-Missouri, that intends to boost competition for generic drugs and lower the abrupt price increases of prescription drugs. The plan is headed to President Donald Trump (R) for consideration. McCaskill is sponsoring the bipartisan plan, along with Sen. Susan Collins, R-Maine.
“Prescription drugs aren’t a luxury item—for many, they’re lifesavers, and Missouri families shouldn’t have to choose between their prescriptions and their groceries,” McCaskill says. “We’ve got to bring down the cost of prescription drugs, and a fundamental way to do that is through generic competition. That’s why this plan by Senator Collins and me will make a difference.”
The legislation speeds up the review of applications for generic drug making, approvals of medication at manufacturing facilities and gives the FDA freedom to prioritize facility inspections.
The provisions, which have been included in the FDA Reauthorization Act, are the product of a U.S. Senate committee investigation launched in 2015 into price jumps for such drugs. McCaskill cites increases ranging from 625 to 5000%, especially for drugs with little competition. She says the committee’s work also found that drug companies changing ownership has resulted in some higher prices.
McCaskill has taken aim at other drug related issues, including one of her latest crusades involving the drug naloxone. She has requested information from some pharmaceutical companies about the price of the drug, which is used to reverse the effects of an opioid drug overdose. She also wants details from manufacturers on their rebate programs and other steps to help local law enforcement and community groups afford the drug.
McCaskill says the price of naloxone has skyrocketed in recent years, causing significant accessibility issues for those on the front lines of the opioid epidemic.
One argument that such companies could make involves the growing opioid crisis impacting supply and demand of naloxone, causing the price of drug to spike.