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2 lawmakers fight for affordable prescriptions at Capitol

WASHINGTON (Nexstar) — Two Texans are leading efforts in Congress to lower prescription drug prices.

Republican Sen. John Cornyn and Democratic Rep. Lloyd Doggett have introduced separate bills to hold big drug companies accountable and make sure drug prices are affordable.

Doggett said many Americans can’t afford to pay for their prescription medicine. He’s leading the effort in the House to lower the cost of prescription drugs.

“I really see this as a matter of life and death,” Doggett said.

His bill would hold the big drug companies accountable by giving the federal government the power to negotiate prices with drugmakers.

At the other end of the Capitol, Cornyn is also fighting for affordable medicine. He said his bill would make it harder for big drug companies to extend their patents of expensive name-brand drugs and avoid generic competition.

“Our goal is to lower out-of-pocket costs with rising deductibles and copays,” Cornyn said.

After six months of negotiations, Cornyn’s bill has cleared the Senate Finance Committee and headed to the floor for a vote, but Doggett said the House is taking much longer to consider his measure. He said the holdup is House leadership.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said she is working on her own bill, but Doggett saidif it doesn’t do enough to crack down on big drug companies, he won’t support it.