HHS releases plan to lower prescription drug prices

September 21, 2021

On September 9, 2021, U.S. Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Xavier Becerra released a comprehensive plan to lower drug prices. The plan is part of a broader initiative stemming from President Joe Biden’s Executive Order on Promoting Competition in the American Economy. The report released by HHS is guided by the Administration’s principles for equitable drug pricing reform through competition, innovation, and transparency.

Americans pay too much for prescription drugs and pay prices that are far higher than any comparable nation. Prices for brand name drugs are rising faster than inflation. Many Americans do not take medications as prescribed because of their cost, with resulting harm to their health care and health. Lack of competition is a key factor in these high drug costs.

The HHS Drug Pricing Plan presents principles for equitable drug pricing reform through competition, innovation, and transparency; describes promising legislative approaches; and summarizes actions already underway or under consideration across HHS.

One of the key policies in this effort is legislation that would allow HHS to negotiate Medicare Part B and Part D drug prices directly with pharmaceutical companies and make those prices available to other purchasers, an approach that is projected to generate reductions in patient cost-sharing and large savings for patients, government and commercial payers.

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