Why CT Congress members and pharma giants disagree about drug prices

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Connecticut’s U.S. senators said that they want to lower prescription drug prices. So do pharmaceutical giants Eli Lilly & Co. and Pfizer, which have major operations in the state.

But the lawmakers and those companies disagree sharply about how to do so.

The debate has crystallized as Congress members hammer out President Joe Biden’s 10-year, $3.5 trillion spending plan. The final version of that “budget reconciliation” legislation might allow Medicare to directly negotiate the prices of many prescription drugs — a change that could generate billions of dollars in savings.

Many pharmaceutical executives warn that the ensuing loss of revenues for their industry could severely hinder research and development, but Democrats such as Sens. Richard Blumenthal and Chris Murphy counter that letting Medicare negotiate would reduce prices for its senior citizen beneficiaries without diminishing innovation.

“Nothing is more important than lowering the cost of pharmaceutical drug prices for the everyday American,” Blumenthal said in an interview. “People are ravaged by these drug prices. There is no reason for them to be this high.”

Debate about drug pricing

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