For the first time since its creation in 1965, Medicare will be able to negotiate the price of certain drugs, as the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) has always done. It’s the result of decades of persistent work by Democrats, from the 1990s under the Clinton administration to the passage of the Inflation Reduction Act (IRA) last week.
That story plus an explanation of how it all came together this time can be found in Jonathon Cohn. detailed history at the Huffington Post. The story also contains a caveat: This is limited reform to build on and could be undone by a Congress or Republican administration.
Nevertheless, the drug price negotiation provision is a big problem because it has finally broken the grip of the pharmaceutical industry lobby. “Pharma has not laid down their arms in this fight,” Larry Levitt, executive vice president of the Henry J. Kaiser Foundation, told HuffPost. He is right. The industry has spent over $187 million so far in 2022, employing 1,587 lobbyists to influence Congress. “This was without a doubt the greatest political loss Pharma has suffered,” Levitt continued.