Groups say Medicare discounts threatened in opioid bill

WASHINGTON (AP) — Consumer and health care groups say they’re trying to block the pharmaceutical industry from commandeering opioid legislation and using it to roll back drugmaker discounts to Medicare beneficiaries with high prescription costs.

Republican leaders are saying little about the behind-the-scenes discussions. But House Democratic leader Nancy Pelosi’s office calls it a “Republican attempt to hijack a bipartisan effort on opioids funding to ram through a multibillion-dollar handout” to the pharmaceutical industry.

Details of the Medicare proposal are in flux. But opponents say it would partially roll back a 70 percent discount that drugmakers must provide starting next year to Medicare beneficiaries with high drug costs.

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