In the first federal legislative response to the Mylan price increase uproar, a bipartisan group of Congress-members introduced a bill aimed at increasing transparency between the public and pharmacy companies.
Senators Tammy Baldwin (D-Wisc.) and John McCain (R-Ariz.) and Representative Jan Schakowsky (D-Ill.) are co-sponsoring the Fair Accountability and Innovative Research (FAIR) Drug Pricing Act in the Senate and House of Representatives, respectively.
The FAIR Drug Pricing Act focuses on creating greater transparency, rather than directly addressing drug prices. The bill would require pharmacy companies to justify any planned price increase greater than 10% to the Department of Health and Human Services at least one month before the intended increase. Companies would have to disclose all non-confidential and non-proprietary information pertaining to the drug of interest, including spending on R&D, manufacturing, marketing and advertising, and profit information.
This bill does not set drug prices, but is intended to increase transparency over why large and unprecedented price hikes will occur. By requiring companies to disclose potential price increases at least one month before they will go into effect, tax payers are given notice of these price hikes and can adjust accordingly.
Due to the bill’s introduction late in the Congressional session, its passage is nearly impossible. However, the point of introducing the bill is to create momentum for future legislation.
As John McCain said, “transparency leads to accountability, and it is past time that mantra applied to the skyrocketing cost of prescription drugs”.
The bill has received support from many organizations, including: American Association of Retired Persons (AARP); the Campaign for Sustainable Rx Pricing (CSRxP); the Medicare Rights Center; Consumer Union; Doctors for America: Drug Price, Value, and Affordability Campaign; Families USA; Center for Medicare Advocacy, Inc.; and Public Citizen.