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Biden to call on Congress to lower prescription drug costs

President Biden on Thursday will call on Congress to reduce the prices of prescription drugs, the White House said.

State of play: Biden will ask Congress to create reforms that will prevent drug companies from raising their prices "faster than inflation." He will also ask Congress to allow Medicare to negotiate drug prices, which it is currently prohibited from doing by law, the White House said.

  • The Biden administration will work with local government "to import safe, lower-cost prescription drugs from Canada and accelerating the development and uptake of generic and biosimilar drugs that give patients the same exact clinical benefit but at a fraction of the price," according to a White House fact sheet.
  • On average, Medicare beneficiaries could save approximately $200 is drug costs are lowered, the administration said.

What he's saying: "While the pharmaceutical companies have done enormous work by developing life-saving COVID-19 vaccines alongside the United States’ best scientists, crippling drug prices are unacceptable," Biden is expected to say in a speech Thursday, per Reuters.

The big picture: Biden's expected call follows an executive order that mandates the Department of Health and Human services to create a "comprehensive plan ... to combat high prescription drug prices and price gouging" by Aug. 23.

Between the lines: Prescription drug costs have remained a persistent issue on Capitol Hill.

  • Last month, Democratic lawmakers released the framework for their $3.5 trillion spending package, which could reduce what patients pay for prescription drugs while expanding Medicare coverage.

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