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Klobuchar introduces bill to help lower drug prices

WASHINGTON—U.S. Sens. Amy Klobuchar, D-Minn., and Mike Lee, R-Utah, the ranking member and chairman of the Senate Judiciary Subcommittee on Antitrust, Competition Policy, and Consumer Rights, introduced legislation to increase competition in the pharmaceutical industry and lower prices for consumers.

The bipartisan Short on Competition Act would allow the secretary of Health and Human Services to grant expedited reviews and inspections, and temporary importation when there are fewer than five competitors on drugs that have been on the market for at least 10 years, a news release said. It would also give the Food and Drug Administration explicit authority to allow temporary importation from certain countries when the secretary of HHS determines there is a drug shortage. The Short on Competition Act could address instances of drug companies dramatically increasing prices for older drugs, such as Turing's Daraprim 5,000 percent price increase and Mylan's EpiPen nearly 500 percent price increase.

"This bipartisan legislation will provide important tools to lower drug prices by prioritizing approvals and safely allowing temporary drug importation of products to address markets that lack competition," Klobuchar said in a news release. ‎"If drug companies think new competitors can quickly enter the market, maybe they'll think twice before raising prices in the first place. Injecting more competition into the marketplace will lead to more affordable prescription drugs for American consumers."