The Biden administration announced on Tuesday that the manufacturers of the initial 10 prescription drugs chosen for Medicare’s inaugural price negotiations have agreed to participate. This development paves the way for potential cost reductions in the coming years and presents a possible political victory for the White House in the lead-up to the next presidential election.
Among the drugs selected are Eliquis, a blood thinner used by over 3.7 million Medicare enrollees, and Jardiance, a diabetes treatment used by nearly 1.6 million enrollees. These medications had average out-of-pocket costs of $608 and $490 per enrollee for 2022, respectively. Last year alone, more than 9 million seniors and Medicare beneficiaries spent over $3.4 billion on these 10 drugs, according to the White House.
The exact extent of the price reductions remains uncertain, as negotiated prices won’t take effect until 2026. Nevertheless, Biden’s promise to lower prescription drug costs is a central element of his reelection message to voters, despite ongoing challenges in convincing the public of the administration’s impact on healthcare expenses and other everyday costs. The White House emphasized that the negotiation program was established under the Inflation Reduction Act, passed by Congress last year without Republican support, and underscored ongoing efforts by pharmaceutical companies to prevent Medicare from engaging in negotiations.
While the drug manufacturers’ agreement to participate marks a significant step, the process could face complications due to potential lawsuits from drugmakers and strong opposition from Republicans. The White House acknowledged that the manufacturers’ decision to participate followed a federal court ruling in Ohio allowing Medicare’s price negotiation plans to proceed.