Allow Medicare to Negotiate Drug Prices Medicare should be allowed to negotiate with pharmaceutical companies to bring down taxpayer and consumer costs for prescription drugs. Currently, such negotiations are banned under the Medicare Prescription Drug, Improvement and Modernization Act of 2003 (MMA). Medicare’s Part D, a product of the MMA, was helpful in bringing prescription drug price relief to millions of seniors, but millions are still not taking medications due to cost or paying far more than they should have to on fixed incomes.
Letting Medicare negotiate will bring the power of about 60 million people to the bargaining table to negotiate for lower drug prices, making sure all of our seniors can afford the medications they need.
Promote Marketplace Competition and Lower Cost Generics by Ending Patent Games
The Hatch-Waxman Act of 1984 struck a delicate balance between making the production of generic drugs easier and encouraging continued drug research and innovation. Since then, brand name drug companies have found many ways to game the patent system. We need to put an end to these anticompetitive practices that deny Americans’ access to lower cost medications.
Prescription Justice supports the following reforms that will promote marketplace competition: banning “pay-for-delay” deals so that brand name drug companies can’t payoff generic firms to delay launching a lower-cost medicine; ending “evergreening” practices, in which drug companies tweak the original drug to extend the patent; and using trade agreements to improve not hinder generic drug availability, with a focus on getting biosimilars to market faster.
Legalize the Importation of Lower-Cost FDA-Approved Medications
The same medications sold in the U.S. are sometimes nine times less expensive in Canada and other countries. By definition, these medications are just as safe abroad as they are here. Prescription drug importation is already legal but, under the current rules, the pharmaceutical manufacturers control the distribution, which means they set higher prices in the U.S. than in other countries. Between 40%-70% of prescription medications we purchase in U.S. pharmacies are imported, as are 80% of their active pharmaceutical ingredients in American drugs.
Pharmacies are not allowed to import lower-cost, FDA-approved drugs from Canada or other countries. Individuals are technically prohibited from doing so under most circumstances. Allowing them to do so would mean much lower prices. We need laws that protect our medication supply, not import restrictions that profit pharmaceutical companies at the expense of American consumers.
Allow Individuals the Freedom to Import Affordable Medications for Their Own Care
Despite federal restrictions, about 20 million Americans have already imported medication for personal use each year because the cost of medication in the U.S. is too high. The law holds that Americans should have the freedom to make informed decisions regarding personal drug importation.
Millions of Americans import lower-cost medication traveling to Canada and Mexico, ordering from international online pharmacies, or through U.S. based programs connecting them with international pharmacy options. They should not be stopped from doing so. In conjunction, the safest international pharmacy options should not be the target of enforcement actions, as they offer a lifeline of affordable medication.
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