Biden lists 10 medications for Medicare pricing talks

President Joe Biden has announced 10 drugs that will be targeted in government price negotiations to make them more affordable for the elderly. The Inflation Reduction Act, passed by Biden, gave Medicare, the government healthcare program for the over-65s, the power to negotiate drug prices with manufacturers for the first time. The negotiations mean older Americans could see cheaper drug costs by 2026. The 10 drugs include expensive diabetes, cancer, and heart medications. The Biden administration said direct negotiations between the government and drug manufacturers would allow elderly Americans to get a "better deal" on prescriptions.

The move is likely to face opposition from drug companies and Republican lawmakers, who have already criticised the measure. A majority of adults 65 years or older - about 50 million - use Medicare health insurance for prescription drug coverage. Nearly a quarter of older Americans struggle to afford their medications, according to non-profit health research organisation KFF. The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services selected the 10 drugs because they were the most costly, do not have generic competitors, and because millions depend on them to treat life-threatening conditions like diabetes, heart failure, and cancer.

The government will begin to negotiate prices for the drugs in 2023, with new costs set to go into effect in 2026. Major drug manufacturers, including Johnson & Johnson and Merck, have already filed lawsuits to block Medicare negotiation of drug prices, arguing they are unconstitutional.


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