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Capitol Health Call
February 14, 2007

Negotiating Drug Prices

JAMA. 2007;297(6):581. doi:10.1001/jama.297.6.581-a

Passage of a bill on January 12 by the House of Representatives that would allow the government to negotiate with pharmaceutical manufacturers on Medicare's drug prices is a shot across the bow of the White House, signaling that Democrats intend to run Congress differently.

HR 4, the Medicare Prescription Drug Price Negotiation Act of 2007 (http://thomas.loc.gov), repeals the current provision in the Social Security Act prohibiting the Secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) from negotiating lower prices from drug companies for participants in the Medicare Part D prescription drug benefit program. The bill passed by a 255 to 170 margin with 231 Democratic House members voting for the measure along with 24 Republicans. A similar bill (S. 3 ([http://thomas.loc.gov]) is being considered in the Senate.

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