The Senate Health, Education, Labor & Pensions Committee today held a hearing examining the administration’s blueprint to lower prescription drug prices. Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar testified on steps the agency is taking to implement the blueprint. For example, Azar noted, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services recently unveiled updates to its drug-pricing dashboard and warned Medicare Part D plan sponsors that their contracts with pharmacies should not prevent the pharmacist from telling customers when they can get a better deal on a drug by paying cash; and the Food and Drug Administration also recently began publicly identifying drug companies suspected of blocking access to samples needed to test generic drugs. Among other actions, he said HHS is working to require drug companies to include their list price in their television commercials; give Medicare Part D plans market-based tools to negotiate better deals with drug companies; and “bring negotiation to Medicare Part B.”

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