Politics: Manufacturers knock drug pricing bill in ad blitz

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The National Association of Manufacturers launched a six-figure ad campaign over the weekend opposing Democrats’ proposal to regulate drug prices in their budget reconciliation package.

  Manufacturers knock drug pricing bill in ad blitz © Provided by The Hill

The lobbying group, which represents Pfizer, Johnson & Johnson and other top drugmakers, is airing ads arguing that price controls on popular drugs amount to a “hidden tax” that will hurt U.S. competitiveness.

“Politicians shouldn’t force government price controls on Americans that harm manufacturers’ ability to develop and innovate new cures,” the narrator tells viewers.

The ad blitz comes as Democrats aim to include the drug pricing bill in their reconciliation package, which can bypass the Senate’s 60-vote filibuster with a simple majority.

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The longtime Democratic priority, which has been derailed numerous times by pharmaceutical industry lobbying, would allow Medicare to negotiate the price of some popular prescription drugs and cap annual out-of-pocket drug costs for Medicare beneficiaries at $2,000.

Democrats are expected to tout the measure — and highlight GOP opposition — on the campaign trail. An October Kaiser Family Foundation poll found that 83 percent of Americans support allowing Medicare to negotiate lower drug prices.

“This is something we’ve waited for for a very long time and is going to be a major, major accomplishment to help people, bring down inflation,” Senate Majority Leader Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) said last week.

Democrats are expected to hear from the Senate parliamentarian this week on whether the drug pricing measure complies with reconciliation rules. Republicans, who generally oppose government regulation of drug pricing, are making the case that key aspects of the bill shouldn’t be included.

“We are calling on senators to vote ‘no’ on reconciliation and stand with manufacturers and the hardworking Americans who are integral to battling this pandemic and discovering future cures,” National Association of Manufacturers CEO Jay Timmons said in a statement Monday.

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