How the Inflation Reduction Act Could Lower Your Drug Costs

2 min
August 08, 2022

By Abigail Abrams

August 8, 2022

The package would empower the federal government to negotiate prices for certain expensive medications that seniors get at their doctors’ offices or at pharmacies. Starting in 2026, Medicare could negotiate the prices of 10 drugs. That would increase to 15 drugs in 2027 and 2028, and then 20 drugs in 2029.

House Democrats previously supported a more ambitious drug pricing bill, but progressives hope this will open the door to future reform, and experts say this version will still create meaningful savings.

“This is an idea that has been talked about for decades,” says Tricia Neuman, senior vice president and executive director for the program on Medicare policy at the nonpartisan Kaiser Family Foundation. “It would be a start, and it would be a real statement that policymakers want to do something significant about drug prices.”

While it’s not yet clear which drugs would be negotiated and precisely how many Americans would be helped, the provision would curtail costs and deliver significant savings for Medicare over time, according to the Congressional Budget Office (CBO).

Prescription drug costs are consistently one of voters’ top healthcare concerns. The average price of brand-name drugs in Medicare Part D, which covers medications at the pharmacy counter, more than tripled between 2009 and 2018, the CBO found. A new survey from West Health and Gallup recently found that nearly 40% of American adults say they have skipped or delayed healthcare treatment or cut other spending in the last six months because of high healthcare costs.