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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

Nov 18, 2021 - Politics & Policy

Democrats urge Biden to do more about inflation

Rep. Elissa Slotkin greets President Biden as he arrives in Lansing, Michigan, last month. Photo: Nicholas Kamm/AFP via Getty Images

Frontline Democrats in the House and Senate are growing increasingly frustrated with the lack of urgency to combat rising prices, and are calling on President Biden to do more as consumers confront sticker shock ahead of the holidays.

Why it matters: The current party-line message on increasing inflation is that it's largely a product of the pandemic, and economists expect prices to come down early next year. However, many Democrats facing tough reelection fights think the Biden administration could be doing more to accelerate the process.

55 mins ago - World

Report: LGBTQ+ Afghans' lives "dramatically worsened" under Taliban rule

Taliban fighters in Kabul, Afghanistan, earlier this month. Photo: Mohd Rasfan/AFP via Getty Images

LGBTQ+ Afghans have been threatened, attacked and "faced an increasingly desperate situation and grave threats to their safety" since the Taliban seized control of Afghanistan last August, per a report published Wednesday.

What they're saying: "We spoke with LGBT Afghans who have survived gang rape, mob attacks, or have been hunted by their own family members who joined the Taliban, and they have no hope that state institutions will protect them," per a statement from study co-author J. Lester Feder.

3 hours ago - World

Canadian Indigenous group finds 93 suspected unmarked graves

A makeshift memorial honoring the 215 children whose remains were found in a mass grave in Brantford, Ontario, Canada, last May. Photo: Cole Burston/AFP via Getty Images

Indigenous leaders in Canada's western province of British Columbia said Tuesday they believe they've found 93 unmarked graves near a former boarding school.

The big picture: Hundreds of mass graves have been found at the grounds of former residential schools for Indigenous children since last May, when the remains of 215 children were uncovered at one such site in B.C.