Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) chaired today's Senate HELP subcommittee hearing on why the United States pays the highest prices in the world for prescription drugs.

Drug Pricing Is Heating Up in Congress Again

A few years ago, there was hope that congressional Democrats and Republicans and the Trump administration would unite and enact legislation addressing the high price of prescription drugs.

It never happened. House Democrats passed a far-ranging drug pricing bill in December 2019, but it was ignored by the Republican-controlled Senate. The Senate Finance Committee’s Republican chair and ranking Democrat introduced a bipartisan bill that shared some of the House bill’s elements. The committee passed the bill, but then Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) declined to bring it to the floor. Its drafters, Sens. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) and Ron Wyden (D-Ore.) had a falling out in July 2020 when Grassley, in an unsuccessful attempt to bring something to the Senate floor before the November election, introduced a watered-down version.

A few years ago, there was hope that congressional Democrats and Republicans and the Trump administration would unite and enact legislation addressing the high price of prescription drugs. It never happened. Today, the new session of Congress is taking its first big step back on the drug pricing trail.

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