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Photo: Win McNamee/Getty Images

House Democrats will release a bill on drug pricing in September, Speaker Nancy Pelosi's top health care aide, Wendell Primus, said yesterday at a Brookings event.

Details: Primus said the bill will focus on the most expensive drugs — primarily, those that have been on the market a long time and still don't have any competition.

  • Once drugs have recouped their research and development costs, he said, "you should be able to push the price down ... well below international prices."
  • The bill would force HHS to negotiate prices directly, and it would include a tax or fee, based on sales, to try to bring drugmakers to the table.
  • Primus said the goal is for HHS' negotiated price to also apply to private insurance plans, so that drugmakers couldn't raise their prices on private plans to compensate for lower prices in Medicare and Medicaid.

What's next: The bill is close to finished, but leadership opted not to introduce it before the August recess, when pharma would have a month to attack it while lawmakers are back in their districts, Primus said.

What we're watching: This proposal could face criticism both from the left and right. Progressives have already said they're worried it won't go far enough, and Republicans have traditionally been loath to let the government set drug prices.

  • If there's a political way forward here, it may depend on a Pelosi-Trump partnership. What a time to be alive.

Go deeper

Updated 19 mins ago - Politics & Policy

Inauguration Day dashboard

U.S. Capitol and stage are lit at sunrise ahead of the inauguration of Joe Biden. Photo: Patrick Semansky - Pool/Getty Images

President Trump has delivered a farewell speech and departed Washington for the last time on Air Force One, kicking off the day that will culminate with President-elect Joe Biden taking office.

The state of play: Biden and Vice President-elect Biden have arrived at the Capitol. Members of congressional leadership and VIPs will soon be introduced. Watch a livestream here.

Dan Primack, author of Pro Rata
31 mins ago - Economy & Business

Momentum builds for major antitrust reform

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

President Trump's outgoing antitrust chief Makan Delrahim on Tuesday endorsed a proposal from House Democrats that would put new limits on acquisitions by large companies, during comments made at a Duke University event.

Why it matters: Momentum is building for major antitrust reform, updating rules that were written for railroads instead of routers.

Updated 2 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Trump departs on final Air Force One flight

President Trump and his family took off on Air Force One at 9 a.m. on Wednesday morning for the final time en route to Florida.

The big picture: Trump's final hours as president were punctuated by his decisions to snub his successor's inauguration and grant pardons to many of his allies who have been swept up in corruption scandals.