July 24, 2019

Cassidy, Colleagues Introduce Second Package of Bills to Lower Prescription Drug Costs

WASHINGTON– U.S. Senator Bill Cassidy, M.D. (R-LA) today introduced his second package of bipartisan bills to lower the price of prescription drugs. Cassidy introduced the Transparency for Pharmacists Act and the Right Price for Medicare Actwith U.S. Senators  Sherrod Brown (D-OH), Steve Daines (R-MT), John Tester (D-MT), John Kennedy (R-LA), James Lankford (R-OK), and Shelley Moore Capito (R-WV). Cassidy also introduced the Star Rating for Biosimilars Act with U.S. Senator Robert Menendez (D-NJ).

Cassidy previously introduced a package of three bills focused on reducing drug prices by getting generics to market faster. 

“Prescription drugs cost too much,” said Dr. Cassidy. “Getting rid of loopholes and incentives lowers drug costs for patients and for taxpayers.” 

Transparency for Pharmacists Act

This bill would provide certainty and assess quality performance for plans, CMS updates a standard set of quality metrics to hold plans accountable. To provide that same certainty and accountability to pharmacies, the bill directs the Secretary to develop evidence-based, clinical quality metrics, in consultation with stakeholders, for plans would contract with pharmacies under.

Right Price for Medicare Act

This bill fixes a loophole in Medicare that insurers are able to use to keep a higher share of profit from the taxpayer. Right now, insurers can hide revenue in “bona fide fees.” This bill would require those fees to be passed through to Medicare, lowering taxpayer exposure.

“Pharmacy middle-men shouldn’t be pocketing secret kickbacks instead of passing discounts onto customers. By requiring more transparency, we can hold the industry accountable to Ohio taxpayers and patients,” said Senator Brown. 

“It’s embarrassing how much more Americans spend on prescription drugs compared to the rest of the world,” said Senator Kennedy. “This bipartisan legislation will help save taxpayer money, increase transparency and lower prescription drug costs.  I’m glad we can come together to introduce bipartisan solutions to this major problem that so many Americans have to face each and every day.”

“The high cost of prescription drugs have been straining Montana’s hardworking families and seniors for far too long,” said Senator Daines. “These bipartisan bills will increase transparency in the drug pricing system and stop the games by pharmacy middlemen in order to lower the costs of prescription drugs for Montanans and Americans.”

Star Rating for Biosimilars Act

This bill would incentivize insurers to use lower cost versions of drugs by rating the plan based on usage of biosimilar medications. Using lower cost drugs will lead to positive health outcomes with lower out of pocket costs for patients.

“I am pleased to put forward the Star Rating for Biosimilars Act, which help consumers access health insurance plans that provide greater access to highly-effective and more affordable medications,” said Senator Menendez. “This is a commonsense, bipartisan bill that will create more incentives for the health insurance industry to deliver high-quality medications at an affordable price to their customers.”