The Senate Judiciary Committee passed five bipartisan bills that would increase competition in the pharmacy supply-chain by making it easier for generics and biosimilar drugs to compete with branded drugs and lower drug prices for patients.
The five HR Policy-supported bills would:
- Limit anticompetitive agreements that delay the introduction of lower-cost biosimilars, interchangeable biologics, and generic drugs (S. 142);
- Reduce the incentives for citizen petitions to the FDA that aim to delay the approval of generics and biosimilars (S. 148);
- Prohibit anticompetitive “product hopping” and limit the number of patents a manufacturer can contest, preventing so-called “patent thickets” (S. 150);
- Improve coordination between the Patent and Trademark Office and the Food and Drug Administration regarding patent-related activities (S. 79); and
- Direct the FTC to study PBMs and make recommendations to Congress (S. 113);
Additionally, HR Policy and other business groups expressed support for Rep. Walberg’s “Telehealth Benefit Expansion for Workers Act of 2023” (H.R. 824), which would enable employers to offer telehealth benefits as an expected benefit like vision or dental benefits.
These are the first bipartisan health care reform bills to move forward in the 118th Congress, which will continue to focus on legislation to improve affordability and reduce out-of-pocket costs for patients.