This week Congressman John J. Duncan Jr. introduced H.R. 6593, the Medication Automated Quotation System, or MEDAQ, Act. This bill intends to improve transparency in the Nation's drug industry and ultimately help to alleviate the Nation's drug pricing crisis.
The MEDAQ Act calls for the Comptroller General to complete a study on the feasibility of creating a medication automated quotation system (MEDAQ), which would use technology similar to the NASDAQ's but would be tracking drug prices instead of stock prices.
When he introduced the bill, Congressman Duncan stated:
"During my 30 years in Congress, I have always asked, "What's the cost?' I always want to see the numbers behind ideas and legislation. This bill calls for just that: what are the real numbers behind our medication prices?
I envision the MEDAQ as a system that would help manufacturers and wholesalers and pharmacists and others involved in the drug industry see in real time what the average price of drugs is as they are negotiating with each other.
I have been vocal in the past about my concerns with the unethical and secretive practices of pharmacy benefits managers, or PBMs, who hide behind gag clauses and retroactive fees and rebates. The Nation is becoming more familiar with those practices and PBMs are starting to squirm.
I have long said that no one likes competition, but everyone is better off for it. Competition is driven by awareness of the goal and the competitors. In other words, competition is driven by transparency and an open market. I believe a MEDAQ would restore competition to the medication market."