March 04, 2020

Cortez Masto Urges Passage of Legislation to Increase Drug Pricing Transparency, Reduce Costs

Washington, D.C. – In light of numerous recent studies reporting that almost half of all Americans have skipped a medically necessary medication due to the cost of the prescription, U.S. Senator Catherine Cortez Masto (D-Nev.), a member of the Senate Finance Committee, today called for the passage of her bipartisan drug pricing transparency legislation, the Payment Commission Data Act. This bill would help to facilitate Congress’ work to lower drug costs by requiring prescription drug manufacturers, and other private health companies, to provide Congressional advisory agencies with data on how their pharmacy benefit managers (PBMs) negotiate prices and manage their contracts.

This week, Nevada Attorney General Aaron Ford joined 46 attorneys general in an amicus brief urging the Supreme Court to respect states’ laws regulating pharmacy benefit managers. The Payment Commission Data Act will help hold prescription drug companies, pharmacy benefit managers and other actors in the drug supply chain accountable at the federal level.

“Prescription drug costs are skyrocketing and the lack of transparency about how prescription prices are set is leaving patients, taxpayers and Congress in the dark. My legislation would help hold stakeholders in the prescription drug supply chain accountable by requiring they share rebate information with the Congressional agencies working to lower drug prices. Similar transparency measures have already been made law in Nevada, and the Senate should follow our example to help address costs.”

BACKGROUND:

One of the greatest challenges to understanding and counteracting rising out of pocket drug costs is the lack of transparency in how pharmacy benefit managers (PBMs) negotiate discounts from manufacturers on behalf of health plans. This lack of data creates problems for Congress when crafting policy related to prescription drugs. Allowing for the disclosure of this data allows the Medicare Payment Advisory Commission (MedPAC) and the Medicaid and CHIP Payment Advisory Commission (MACPAC) to make better informed recommendations on how Congress can navigate the drug supply chain, address costs and ensure patient-centered pricing.

The bipartisan Payment Commission Data Act introduced by Senator Cortez Masto (D-Nev.) would allow the Medicare Payment Advisory Commission (MedPAC) as well as the Medicaid and CHIP Payment Advisory Commission (MACPAC) access to critical information on pricing and contracts under Medicaid and Medicare. This information will help the nonpartisan Congressional agencies analyze access to care, quality of care, and other issues related to prescription drug coverage under Medicare and Medicaid. These agencies would then be able to use the information to make recommendations to Congress on how best to reduce out of pocket prescription drug costs.

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