2. Grassley is not pharma's worst nightmare
New Finance Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley doesn't currently have any specific drug companies or actions he wants to look into, but is planning on holding broader oversight hearings into drug prices.
What he's saying: In an interview with my colleague Jonathan Swan and me, Grassley made clear he is no radical when it comes to pharma.
- The 3 bills at the center of his agenda don't fall into the Finance Committee's jurisdiction, and he didn't list any additional legislation that he'd like to move through the committee.
- He's deferring judgment on the administration's proposal to tie Medicare drug prices to those in other countries, although he doesn't "want foreign governments setting our prices.”
- The plan is "not [to] investigate pharma," but "looking into where do we think that there is not enough transparency… it all relates to what you're trying to do to use transparency to bring accountability to get prices down. The whole rebate program, all that sort of stuff," he said.
What they're saying: "It's great to see these proposals from Senator Grassley.... But do not mistake them for serious reforms to the underlying drivers of the drug pricing problem," tweeted Rachel Sachs, a Washington University law professor.
Yes, but: The 2020 election is already here and drug prices are a hot topic. Grassley "may very well feel encouraged to do more than he's already planning given the likely political environment over the next 20 months," said Alex Conant, a GOP strategist.