Senate Holds Hearing on Prescription Drug Costs / by Joe Furia

Debbie Johnston, Senior Vice President of Policy Development

This week the Senate Finance Committee held a hearing on strategies to reduce prescription drug costs and encourage innovation and competition in the market. Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar testified on the administration's blueprint to lower drug prices, released in May. Rising pharmaceutical costs continue to be a top concern for AzHHA members. A survey by the American Hospital Association shows that hospital spending on inpatient drugs increased 38.7% per admission between 2013 and 2015, more than three times the increase in spending for retail prescription drugs over the period. In an effort to address rising drug costs, AzHHA supports the Creating and Restoring Equal Access to Equivalent Samples Act, which will prevent anticompetitive behaviors used to block and delay entry of generic drugs; and H.R. 4392 to prevent a 30% reduction in Medicare payment to certain hospitals for outpatient drugs purchased under the 340B drug savings program.