Democrats reach deal on drug pricing reform that caps costs, negotiates Parts D and B prices

Drug prices
Democrats reached an elusive deal on drug pricing reform that lets Medicare negotiate for certain drug prices. (Getty/Tero Vesalainen)

Democrats have reached a deal on lowering prescription drug prices that received support from key centrists and will give Medicare the power to negotiate for a certain number of drugs.

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer announced the deal Tuesday that will be part of a $1.75 trillion infrastructure package expected to pass Congress in the coming weeks.

“Fixing prescription drug prices consistently has been a top issue for Americans year after year,” Schumer said.

Schumer said the deal will enable Medicare to negotiate the price of certain drugs in Medicare Parts B and D. It also caps out-of-pocket spending on beneficiary drug costs at $2,000 a year and would set a cap on insulin for $35.

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He added that the deal will “stop price gouging and change both drug company and health insurance incentives to make sure our country’s drug pricing system benefits patients, not corporations.”

Schumer said the deal has support from centrist Sen. Kyrsten Sinema, D-Arizona, who has previously opposed widespread drug pricing negotiation powers for Medicare.

But it remains unclear how many drugs will be subject to the negotiation framework. Centrists in both the House and Senate have objected to allowing Medicare to negotiate on drug prices for products that still have market exclusivity.

The deal, however, is a major turnaround from last week when a framework on the $1.75 trillion package omitted drug pricing reform altogether.