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Photo: Samuel Corum/Bloomberg via Getty Images

President Biden on Thursday called on Congress to reduce the prices of prescription drugs, the White House said.

State of play: Biden asked Congress to create reforms that will prevent drug companies from raising their prices "faster than inflation." He also urged Congress to allow Medicare to negotiate drug prices, which it is currently prohibited from doing so by law.

  • The Biden administration will work with local government "to import safe, lower-cost prescription drugs from Canada and accelerating the development and uptake of generic and biosimilar drugs that give patients the same exact clinical benefit but at a fraction of the price," according to a White House fact sheet.
  • On average, Medicare beneficiaries could save approximately $200 if drug costs are lowered, the administration said.
  • Biden proposed that the government spend $6.5 billion for an agency within the National Institute of Health that will focus on speeding research to "detect, treat and cure diseases like Alzheimer's, diabetes and cancer."

What he's saying: "To really solve the problem, we need Congress to act," Biden said.

  • Biden said that by allowing Medicate to negotiate drug prices, an employer-based would not "have to keep paying whatever the drug company demands ... The savings for employers and employees would be billions of dollars a year."
  • He finished his remarks by saying that affordable health care is a bipartisan issue: "Alzheimer's, diabetes, cancer, they don't care if you're a Democrat or a Republican. It's about whether or not you and your loved ones can afford prescription drugs you need. I look forward to Congress getting this done."

The big picture: Biden's call follows an executive order that mandates the Department of Health and Human Services to create a "comprehensive plan ... to combat high prescription drug prices and price gouging" by Aug. 23.

Between the lines: Prescription drug costs have remained a persistent issue on Capitol Hill.

  • Last month, Democratic lawmakers released the framework for their $3.5 trillion spending package, which could reduce what patients pay for prescription drugs while expanding Medicare coverage.

Go deeper

Ben Geman, author of Generate
Sep 15, 2021 - Politics & Policy

The precarious White House climate posture

President Biden at the National Renewable Energy Laboratory in Colorado on Sept. 14, 2021. Photo: Helen H. Richardson/MediaNews Group/The Denver Post via Getty Images

The White House is stepping up its PR push for strong climate measures on Capitol Hill even while arguing it can make lots of progress with executive powers.

Driving the news: President Biden yesterday called for congressional action in remarks at the National Renewable Energy Laboratory in Colorado.

11 hours ago - Health

FDA advisory panel recommends Pfizer boosters for those 65 and older

A healthcare worker prepares a dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech Covid-19 vaccine at the Key Biscayne Community Center on Aug. 24, 2021. Photo: Eva Marie Uzcategui/Bloomberg via Getty Images

A key Food and Drug Administration advisory panel on Friday overwhelmingly voted against recommending Pfizer vaccine booster shots for younger Americans, but unanimously recommended approving the third shots for individuals 65 and older, as well as those at high-risk of severe COVID-19.

Why it matters: While the votes are non-binding, and the FDA must still make a final decision, Friday's move pours cold water on the Biden administration's plan to begin administering boosters to most individuals who received the Pfizer vaccine later this month.

11 hours ago - World

France recalls ambassadors from U.S. and Australia over submarine deal

Secretary of State Antony Blinken (L), French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian (C), and French ambassador to the U.S. Philippe Etienne. Photo: Nicholas Kamm/AFP via Getty Images

France has taken the extraordinary step of recalling its ambassadors to the U.S. and Australia after both countries blindsided their French allies with a new military pact and submarine contract, the French Foreign Ministry announced on Friday.

The backstory: While sealing an agreement with the U.S. and U.K. to acquire nuclear submarines, Australia ripped up an existing $90 billion submarine deal with France. That led senior French officials to accuse the U.S. of a "stab in the back."