Howard Sklamberg Quoted in Corporate Counsel on Democratic Proposal for New Drug Pricing Czar

Corporate Counsel has quoted Akin Gump health partner Howard Sklamberg in the article “Proposal for New Rx Pricing Sheriff Greeted With Skepticism,” regarding a plan by Democrats in Congress to create a new “price gouging enforcer” who would lead a new agency designed to stop steep price increases of prescription drugs.

The article reports that, while Republicans have also expressed concern about soaring drug prices, they are more likely to take on the issue by trying to speed up the approval of generic drugs—a task that would necessitate the involvement of Congress and other Department of Health & Human Services agencies besides the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). Sklamberg, a former FDA official who joined Akin Gump in July, said that would require a “multifaceted” approach.

According to the Democrats’ proposal, the new prescription drug czar and his or her new agency would be responsible for protecting taxpayers and patients from “egregious” price increases by identifying drugs with “unconscionable” price hikes. The individual would then be able to impose fines on the manufacturer proportional to the size of the price increase.

“To impose a program like this, you would have to have clear criteria to avoid a complaint that you weren’t being consistent,” Sklamberg said of the proposal’s lack of definitions and specific rules addressing the enforcement process.