Spurred by the furor over EpiPen price hikes, Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton proposed a new federal panel to determine if price increases for long-established prescription drugs are justified.
Clinton proposes new enforcement mechanisms, including having the government buy and provide alternative therapies to patients, allowing temporary importation of lower-priced drugs from foreign countries and fining drug companies that excessively raise prices.
While there is a growing public clamor for action on drug costs, Clinton's proposal, along with her previous ones, is likely to encounter strong resistance from congressional Republicans and from the pharmaceutical industry. Such direct federal intervention in healthcare pricing issues would be a major departure from prior U.S. policy.
The Clinton campaign said that, if elected, she would convene representatives of federal health, safety and antitrust agencies to protect consumers from “outlier” price increases. They would work with patient advocates, independent experts and state regulators to respond to situations such as the recent prices increases in EpiPens and pyrimethamine. The members would determine whether a price increase was justified based on factors including the “trajectory” of the increase, the cost of production and the relative value of the product to patients.
The position paper does not address whether implementing these proposals would require congressional action.