Federal lawmakers will continue to rail against the high cost of prescription drugs in the next few years, but their most likely actions will be limited to relatively small steps such as the enactment of measures intended to approve more generics.
“There is not going to be a magic bullet," said Douglas Holtz-Eakin, a former director of the Congressional Budget Office who now leads the conservative American Action Forum. “There are a bunch of little levers they can pull.”
Net spending on prescription medicines in the United States rose by 8.5 percent last year to $309.5 billion from the previous year and could hit as much as $400 billion by 2020, according to consulting firm IMS Health.
One of the most promising bills addressing drug...