Democratic Senators Propose Ways Trump Could Lower Drug Costs

Senate Democrats aren’t going to quietly let President-elect Donald Trump forget his campaign promises regarding drug prices.

Led by Sens. Sherrod Brown (Ohio) and Al Franken (Minn.), 17 Democrats and two independents on Tuesday sent a letter to Trump outlining ways the two sides could collaborate to lower drug costs: allowing the secretary of Health and Human Services to negotiate drug prices; increasing price transparency; stopping abusive pricing; incentivizing innovation; and ensuring competition.

“During your campaign, you promised to address the high prescription drug prices that the vast majority of Republicans and Democrats expressed as a top concern in the election,” the lawmakers wrote, referencing the reauthorization of prescription drug and other user fees ahead of October 2017 as an opportunity for collaboration.

The senators say Trump should work with Congress to help pass legislation that would lift the ban on the HHS secretary negotiating drug prices for Medicare Part D beneficiaries. They also say they’re ready to work with him on legislation that would combat overnight price hikes or regular, unjustified price increases that have gained attention over the past year.

While Trump has vowed to lower drug prices, he hasn’t put forward many specific policy plans. During the campaign he supported allowing Medicare to negotiate drug prices, as well as the safe importation of foreign drugs, as ways to lower costs. Since winning the election, Trump has been quiet on the issue beyond telling Time Magazine he would lower drug prices. His intended nominee to lead the Department of Health and Human Services, House Budget Committee Chairman Tom Price (R-Ga.), has voted against Medicare Part D negotiating prices.

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