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CNBC's John Harwood on Friday talked with Sen. Sherrod Brown, D-Ohio, who is up for re-election on Nov. 6. Here, they discuss drug pricing.
John Harwood: Did you see what the administration announced yesterday about Medicare changing drug reimbursement rates? Is that a good thing? Will it make a big difference?
Sherrod Brown: Small step. No.
Harwood: Not a big step?
Brown: It's a small step. The president called it revolutionary with his hyperbole – no surprise. It is not that. It's a good step. We need to do a lot, lot more. But fundamentally, the White House looks like a retreat for drug company executives.
They made this step. Drug companies don't really like it. But if that's all they have to accept, they will be pretty happy.
There are things we should do. Drug companies shouldn't be allowed to deduct the cost of advertising. Drug companies — we should negotiate the way we do with the VA. It works for veterans. We should serve those who serve us better, and we're doing it at least on drug pricing. We're not doing it on Agent Orange and some other things. But we're doing it on drug prices where the VA negotiates directly with the drug companies to bring prices down. We should do that with Medicare. We should do that with prescription drugs, generally.