The 10 pharmaceutical companies whose drugs will be part of the first cycle of the upcoming Medicare Drug Price Negotiation Program have agreed to participate in the talks, the White House announced on October 3.
The drugmakers slated to take part in the discussions with Medicare are: AstraZeneca AB; Boehringer Ingelheim; Bristol Myers Squibb; Immunex; Janssen Biotech; Janssen Pharmaceuticals; Merck & Co.; Novartis Pharmaceuticals; Novo Nordisk; and Pharmacyclics.
The move follows several lawsuits filed by some of those drugmakers as well as the U.S. Chamber of Commerce in an attempt to block the program, which was authorized under the Inflation Reduction Act (IRA).
Through the IRA, the federal government – the nation’s largest prescription drug buyer – authorized the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) to negotiate prices directly with participating manufacturers for selected drugs that have high total spending and expenditures. In August, the CMS selected the first 10 drugs for price discussions with the companies under the program.
Most recently, the Chamber of Commerce lost its legal battle against HHS and the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS), which it accused of trying to implement an “illegal and arbitrary price control scheme” with the program.
But in a September 29 ruling, a federal district judge denied the Chamber’s request to stop the program noting, among other things, that participation in the program and in Medicare in general is voluntary.
Taking steps to lower prices
“Today I can announce that the manufacturers of ten drugs are coming to the negotiating table to lower prices,” President Joe Biden said in a video announcing the news. “They’re taking steps to participate in the negotiating program so we can give seniors the best possible deal.”
The 10 drugs in the program, covered under Medicare Part D, are: Eliquis, Jardiance, Xarelto, Januvia, Farxiga, Entresto, Enbrel, Imbruvica, Stelara and Fiasp/NovoLog.
CMS said it will publish negotiated prices that are agreed on for the selected drugs by September 1, 2024. These prices will become effective starting January 1, 2026.
Over the next four years, Medicare will negotiate prices for up to 60 drugs covered under Medicare Part D and Part B, and up to an additional 20 drugs every year after that.
Meanwhile, Medicare's annual open enrollment period begins October 15 and runs through December 7. Visit Kiplinger for information on how to enroll, review your plan and find out what's new for 2024.
Esther D’Amico is Kiplinger’s senior news editor. A long-time regulatory journalist, Esther has covered a range of industries including antitrust and congressional affairs, infrastructure, transportation, climate change and the industrial chemicals sector. She holds a bachelor’s degree in journalism and in English.
- Joey SolitroContributor
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