Senate bars Medicare Part D drug negotiations

In a turn of events that will please many drug developers, a bill that allowing the federal government to negotiate the prices of drugs provided under Medicare Part D hit a setback in the Senate. Supporters of the bill have said allowing the government to negotiate prices will make the program more affordable. They've also accused special interest groups--in the form of drug companies--of using their influence to keep drug prices high. However, critics said the bill would lead to government price control of expensive drugs. It's unclear what the impact of such a bill would have been; a Congressional Budget Office report released in January found letting the government negotiate prices wouldn't have a significant effect on the price of Medicare Part D drugs. The bill had previously been passed by the House. Rep. Joe Barton of Texas predicted (rightly) that it would die in the Senate, but chances are this isn't the last we'll hear of it.

- read this Los Angeles Times article

ALSO: According to Senator Edward Kennedy (D-MA), the Food and Drug Administration Revitalization Act--a comprehensive FDA bill moving through the senate--will include provisions to establish a pathway for approving follow-on biologics. Article