Senators Grassley and Wyden introduce bipartisan drug pricing bill
December 05, 2018
Senators Grassley and Wyden introduce bipartisan drug pricing bill. Senators Chuck Grassley and Ron Wyden, incoming Ranking Member and Chairman of the Senate Finance Committee, introduced a bill this week to address tactics used by drug companies to overcharge taxpayers for prescription drug Medicaid rebates. The bill would allow HHS to collect rebates post reclassification from companies that deliberately misclassify drugs in categories with lower rebates. The lawmakers cited pharmaceutical giant Mylan’s nearly half a billion-dollar settlement with the Department of Justice, where the government claimed that Mylan has deliberately misclassified EpiPen as a generic, rather than brand name drug. One analysis found that government had overpaid for the drug by nearly 1.3 billion dollars due to the misclassification. [The Hill]
EPA to roll back environmental legislation to facilitate the construction of new coal plants.The EPA is expected to announce changes Thursday to Obama-era restrictions on newly built coal plants that required new plants to include CO2 capture systems, despite the fact that carbon capture technology is still in its infancy and has not yet been commercially deployed. The agency is expected to ease those constraints. Although coal plants are not competitive in an environment with cheap natural gas, and 40% of US coal plants have either closed or are slated for closure since 2010, the move is largely perceived as a signal of the Trump administration’s embrace of the coal industry. [NY Times]
Postal Service review indicates commercial price increases likely. The Treasury Department’s Postal Service task force issued a report Wednesday, arguing that the independent government agency should charge higher prices for package deliveries for commercial retailers such as Amazon, which analysts estimate uses the USPS for nearly half of its deliveries. The agency has faced financial hardship, which the report argues stems from a failure to price shipping with profitability in mind. The supposed higher rates would also hit carriers like FedEx and UPS, which often use USPS for last mile deliveries. The Postal Service had already announced a series of price increases targeting Amazon and major carriers, raising prices on its Parcel Select Service between 9.3% and 12.3%. The USPS is expected to lose tens of billions over the next ten years. [WSJ]
Economic Indicators and News
Due to the passing of President George H. W. Bush, government agencies have paused the release of economic data.