Members of the Senate Finance Committee voted 13-8 Thursday to approve S. 3, a bill that would let the federal government negotiate Medicare prescription drug prices directly with pharmaceutical manufacturers.
The bill also calls for greater transparency in Medicare prescription plan drug pricing, and it seeks to give doctors and patients more information about the effectiveness of drugs and other medical treatments.
One S. 3 amendment permits the government to share Medicare Part D data with the states.
A second amendment requires that Medicare beneficiaries get information about drug costs at the point of sale.
Senate staffers are predicting S. 3 will come up for a vote on the Senate floor sometime next week.
In January, the House passed a Medicare drug plan bill that would have required the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services to negotiate drug prices with pharmaceutical companies.