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Bill that would change some drug prices heads to the House

When it comes to prescription drugs, the Inflation Reduction Act would spark major changes aimed at making some drugs more affordable.
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Posted at 5:18 PM, Aug 08, 2022

When it comes to prescription drugs, the Inflation Reduction Act would spark major changes aimed at making some drugs more affordable.

Senate Democrats passed the legislation on Sunday. The House is expected to pick it up on Friday.

If signed, the law would give Medicare power to negotiate prices for certain expensive drugs for the first time starting in 2026.

Dr. Hashim Zaiback, CEO of Hayat Pharmacy, described that shift alone as a huge change

He explained how one commonly used and expensive drug for chronic conditions just saw a 7% price hike.

"The less Medicare has to pay for the medication that means there's more money that they can maybe distribute to the patients in the form of maybe lower deductible, lower co-pays," Zaiback said.

The legislation sets a $2,000 cap on out-of-pocket prescription costs for those who rely on Medicare.

"Today we have patients who have Medicare who have to spend a lot more than the $2,000 because they are on multiple prescriptions and some of those medications can be expensive," Zaibak said, pointing out that the group of people impacted are the most vulnerable.

One point of contention is the cost of insulin.

The bill has a $35 cap for those 65 and older on Medicare. It does not include the private market.

While there are still questions on the full impact these changes will have, Zaibak believes this action is a step toward progress.

"Patients who can take care of their diabetes and their chronic conditions because now they don't have to pick between getting the expensive medication and putting food on the table," Zaibak said.

One of the changes requires drug makers to pay Medicare if their price increase exceeds the rate of inflation.

It will be up to the U.S. Health Secretary to negotiate drug prices.

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