A bipartisan group of U.S. lawmakers is seeking to repeal a Medicare-pricing provision in the recent "fiscal cliff" deal that benefits biotech giant Amgen Inc.
U.S. Rep. Peter Welch (D-Vt.) filed legislation this week to eliminate the exemption for a class of drugs, including Amgen's Sensipar, that are used by kidney dialysis patients.
The fiscal-cliff legislation approved earlier this month excluded these oral medications from Medicare price controls for an additional two years.
"Amgen managed to get a $500-million paragraph in the fiscal-cliff bill and virtually no one in Congress was aware of it," Welch said. "It's a taxpayer ripoff and comes at a really bad time when we're trying to control healthcare costs. Amgen should not be allowed to turn Medicare into a profit center."
The Thousand Oaks company said it supports the two-year delay so patient care isn't disrupted while federal officials examine concerns raised in a 2011 report by the Government Accountability Office.