Texas Lawmakers Divided Over Legislation To Lower Pescription Drug Costs

Chris Fox
December 13, 2019 - 11:06 am
Pharmacy, Prescription Drugs

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AUSTIN (1080 KRLD) - The US House of Representatives passed legislation, predominantly along party lines, to lower prescription drug costs.

House Bill 3, known as the Elijah Cummings Lower Drug Costs Now Act was named after the Democratic Civil Rights icon who passed away in October.

The bill would give Medicare the power to negotiate prices directly with the drug companies and make the lower drug prices available to Americans with private insurance. It also calls for a reinvestment of $10-billion for innovation and the search for new cures and treatments. The money would come from some of the savings from lowering the drug prices. 

Texas US House members all voted along party lines. 

Texas Democratic Congressman Colin Allred released a statement calling the vote historic:

“I made a promise to North Texans that I would fight every day to lower the cost of prescription drugs, and with the passage of the Lower Drug Costs Now Act today, the House took a historic step toward delivering real relief to folks struggling under the high cost of prescription drugs,” said Allred. “I know there is bipartisan agreement to get something done, and I will keep working to ensure we sign something into law that lowers prescription drug prices for North Texans.”

Texas Republican Congressman Dr. Michael Burgess voted against the bill. He believes the negotiation would be nothing more than price fixing by Congress that would stifle innovation:

“This is not an academic exercise,” Burgess said. “I support bipartisan solutions to lower drug prices for American patients, and I appreciate the bipartisan discussions that we have had at the Energy and Commerce Committee to accomplish that goal. I cannot support H.R. 3 because it abandons the framework that has so successfully fostered American biomedical innovation, and therefore impedes patient access to future treatments and cures.”

The bill will have a tough fight in the US Senate.