NEW YORK Dec 20 A group of Democratic senators
took their plans to tackle rising drug costs to President-elect
Donald Trump on Tuesday, asking him to work with them and
Republicans on the issue.
In a letter dated Tuesday, the 19 senators named five areas
for cooperation: allowing the Medicare program to negotiate
prescription prices, increasing transparency, stopping abusive
pricing, passing reform on incentives for innovation and
supporting generic competition for branded drugs.
Trump's focus during the presidential election campaign was
not on drug prices but on his promise to "repeal and replace"
Obamacare, President Barack Obama's signature health reform law
passed by Democrats in 2010.
But he did talk about allowing Medicare to negotiate drug
prices, which is currently prohibited by law, and importing
cheaper drugs from other countries. Since elected, Trump
promised in an interview with Time magazine that "I'm going to
bring down drug prices" but did not say how.
In the letter led by Senators Sherrod Brown of Ohio and Al
Franken of Minnesota and co-signed by Vermont Senator Bernie
Sanders, Minnesota Senator Amy Klobuchar and Massachusetts
Senator Elizabeth Warren among others, the group suggested that
there would be opportunities in Congress for Trump to steer
It suggested that the Prescription Drug, Generic Drug, and
Biosimilars User Fee Agreement reauthorization, due to be passed
in the spring, and "other health-related legislative priorities"
would be good opportunities.
Republicans have a majority in Congress and is working on a
two-part plan to "repeal and replace" Obamacare, according to
Republican senators. The repeal would take place through the
budget reconciliation process, which can pass with 51 votes. For
replacement legislation, some Republican senators have said they
may seek Democratic support in order to have bipartisan
legislation with 60 votes.
(Reporting by Caroline Humer; Editing by Cynthia Osterman)