And on Thursday, the Senate's appropriations panel approved a legislative package that includes a measure to reduce the number of so-called “pay for delay” settlements that keep generic drugs of the counters.
Under Baucus' measure, increased Medicaid funding would extend through June 30, 2011, but will be phased-down from 6.2% to 3.2% and finally down to 1.2%. The proposal matches one made in a previous extenders package, which ultimately fell short of the needed votes for passage.
Meanwhile, the Senate could move forward on restrictions of payments made by brand-name drugmakers to generic manufacturers that result in the delayed marketing of potentially cheaper drugs.
“The cost of brand-name drugs rose nearly 10% last year,” Sen. Herb Kohl (D-Wis.), who sponsored the legislation, said in a written statement. “In contrast, the cost of generic drugs fell by nearly 10%.”
The Congressional Budget Office estimates that the measure would save the federal government some $2.6 billion over the next decade by reducing drug costs.