Nov 15, 2019

2020 Democrats' new drug pricing bill

Sens. Bernie Sanders and Cory Booker. Photo: Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call

Sens. Cory Booker, Bernie Sanders and Kamala Harris — who are all running for president in 2020 — are announcing legislation Friday that would create an independent agency to determine list prices of prescription drugs.

Why it matters: This is further mainstreaming of Democrats' leftward shift on drug prices.

  • It has become standard for Democratic presidential candidates to support the idea of taking drug companies' patents if their prices are too high. Most of the candidates also support some form of price regulation.
  • While Booker isn't a 2020 frontrunner, he's emblematic of the party's shift: In 2017, he was heavily criticized for voting against a bill allowing the importation of drugs from Canada.

What it does: If a drug company doesn't comply with the determined price, the HHS secretary could void the company's exclusivity period and allow other companies to produce the drug.

  • Ironically, that bill was sponsored by Sanders and Sen. Amy Klobuchar, who is also running for president.

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Democrats double down on health care prices

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

Many 2020 Democrats' health care proposals feature aggressive price regulations, either as a feature or a byproduct — a sign that the party has largely given up on the idea that competition alone can keep costs in check.

Between the lines: It's not just Democrats. As public outrage has grown over prescription drug prices and surprise medical bills, there's been bipartisan congressional interest in regulating prices.

Go deeperArrowDec 2, 2019

Corbyn accuses Tories of putting NHS "up for sale" in post-Brexit U.S. trade deal

Photo: Tolga Akmen/AFP via Getty Images

Jeremy Corbyn, the leader of the U.K.'s Labour Party, accused Boris Johnson's Conservative Party on Wednesday of putting the country's National Health Service "up for sale" during post-Brexit trade negotiations with the U.S., per the BBC.

Why it matters: Corbyn, facing criticism over accusations of anti-Semitism in his party, is trying to seize the message on a populist topic that plays to his party's strengths before the U.K. heads to the polls in a little more than two weeks.

Go deeperArrowNov 27, 2019

What lower prices would mean for drug companies

Illustration: Eniola Odetunde/Axios

Drug pricing regulations would not decimate the pharmaceutical industry, according to an analysis from health policy researchers at West Health and Johns Hopkins.

Why it matters: This throws some cold water on Big Pharma's claims that new drug research and investments would evaporate if the federal government limits what they can charge for medications — the proposal du jour in Congress and the White House.

Go deeperArrowNov 15, 2019