Allow the Federal Government to Negotiate Medicare Medication Prices
The Centers for Medicaid & Medicare should be allowed to negotiate medication prices with pharmaceutical companies to bring down taxpayer and consumer costs for Medicare enrollees. 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 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.
Ban “Pay to Delay” to Improve Competition from Generic Medications
Pharmaceutical companies should be prevented from conspiring together to prevent lower cost generics from coming to market. “Pay to delay” deals involve payment by a brand-name company to a generic drug company to delay marketing a generic version that has obtained FDA approval to market in the United States. The Federal Trade Commission estimates that taxpayer drug costs were $3.5 billion higher in 2014 because of such deals. “Pay to delay” deals should be banned.
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, such 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. In fact, according to the FDA, 40% percent of prescription medications we purchase in U.S. pharmacies are imported and 80% of their active pharmaceutical ingredients, the main ingredients found in medications, are imported.
Pharmacies and individuals in the U.S. are not allowed to import lower-cost, FDA-approved pharmaceuticals from Canada or other countries. Allowing them to do so would mean lower prices at U.S. pharmacies and for patients importing medication for personal use. 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 Make Informed Decisions Regarding the Importation of 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 FDA should use enforcement discretion so as not to deprive patients access to prescribed, safe and effective medications. 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.