To curb drug prices, Democrats still seeking a balance

WASHINGTON (AP) — Democrats are committed to passing legislation this year to curb prescription drug prices. But they disagree on how to cut costs for patients and taxpayers while preserving profits that entice investors to back promising treatments. It boils down to how big a stick Medicare should have to negotiate with pharmaceutical companies. In the House, Speaker Nancy Pelosi is pushing legislation that imposes a steep tax on drug makers refusing to deal with Medicare. In the Senate, Finance Committee Chairman Ron Wyden is starting from a less ambitious bipartisan bill that would limit price increases but not initial prices. Yet he, too, says it’s “past time” for Medicare to negotiate prices.