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Biden administration rejects "march-in" request to lower drug price

Congressman Lloyd Doggett speaks at a press conference

Doggett speaks at a news conference outside the Capitol in July 2021. Photo: Oliver Contreras/Bloomberg via Getty Images

The Biden administration on Tuesday rejected a request to use march-in rights to break the patent of the prostate cancer drug Xtandi as a way to lower the price.

Why it matters: The move is sure to lead to progressive pushback on the Hill. Rep. Lloyd Doggett is already out with a statement blasting the administration, and big names like Sens. Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders could follow, as they have urged the administration to use the authority.

  • "The Biden Administration has missed yet another opportunity to do something meaningful to lower prescription drug costs and protect taxpayer investments," Doggett said in a statement.

Yes, but: The administration also announced a new "review" of march-in authority, with an interagency working group to develop criteria, "including price," for using march-in rights.

  • James Love, a leading advocate for using march-in rights and director of the group Knowledge Ecology International, in an email to Axios dismissed the review as "a way to deflect criticism" of the decision on Xtandi.

What they're saying: The letter from NIH rejecting the request to use march-in rights states that Xtandi is "widely available as a prescription drug."

The big picture: While President Biden touts allowing Medicare to negotiate drug prices in the IRA, some progressives want him to go further and act on his own to break patents.

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