Senator Wyden Pushing Back Against "Big Pharma"

Sep 24, 2018

U.S. Senator Ron Wyden at a Lane County town hall event in February 2017.
Credit Brian Bull / KLCC

Oregon US Senator Ron Wyden is not interested in bailing out the pharmaceutical industry. The Democrat is expressing concern about a last minute change to a package of 70 bipartisan bills passed earlier this month to address the nation’s growing opioid crisis.

The unrelated change that’s being lumped in would roll back a provision in Congress’ February budget deal that shifted more Medicare Part D costs on to drug companies.  Wyden says that’s a no-go:

“When the pharmaceutical lobby gets to pay less, the senior citizens get higher premiums and as the former director of the Oregon Grey Panthers, I can just tell you that on my watch as a ranking democrat on this key committee, there isn’t going to be a big pharma bailout on this opioid bill, ” says Wyden.

Wyden says negotiations are going on right now and the final deal could be released this week, but the pharmaceutical company addition is a sticking point. Meanwhile lawmakers are still trying to hash out their differences on the measures more clearly related to opioids contained within the legislation known as the Opioid Crisis Recovery Act.