Last week, Gabriel Levitt, founder of Prescription Justice, published an Op-Ed in The Guardian about Alex Azar, President Trump's nominee for Secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS). Mr. Levitt's Op-Ed, Alex Azar is big pharma personified. He must not become US health secretary, underscores the urgent need for members of Congress to oppose Azar's confirmation.
President Trump reinvigorated the drug price policy debate by recently stating that prescription drug prices "are out of control" and, for a second time, that drug companies are "getting away with murder". He's expected to soon announce a bi-partisan drug price task force to examine prescription drug costs. The president's renewed focus on lowering drug costs is a relief from the misaligned priority of healthcare reform, which seems to have overshadowed Americans most pressing healthcare concern: soaring drug costs.
In his most recent remarks, President Trump focused on the fact that prescription drugs are much cheaper in other countries. In fact, it's common for brand-name prescription drug prices to be as much as 90 percent lower in pharmacies outside the U.S., which is why millions of Americans, despite federal restrictions, have had to import medication from Canada and elsewhere. Unfortunately, the law and misleading public information campaigns sponsored by drug companies scare Americans away from more affordable medication. (more…)
During a press conference today, Representatives Elijah Cummings (D-MD), Peter Welch (D-VT) and Lloyd Doggett (D-TX), joined Senator Bernie Sanders (I-VT) to introduce new legislation aimed at lowering the high cost of prescription drugs for the 41 million Medicare enrollees. Medicare is the largest purchaser of prescription medications, however it is expressly prohibited from negotiating with pharmaceutical companies over the price of medications.
The Medicare Drug Price Negotiations Act would amend Title XVIII of the Social Security Act by removing the non-interference clause, which expressly bans Medicare from negotiating drug prices. The bill instructs the Secretary of the Health and Human Services to negotiate for Part D drugs, either by creating a national formulary or instructing Prescription Drug Plans (PDPs) to makes changes to their formularies. (more…)
During recent testimony before the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pension Committee hearing on Stabilizing the Affordable Care Act Marketplace, AARP became the largest consumer organization to publicly support the prescription drug policy solutions reflected in Prescription Justice’s policy platform. AARP supports commonsense policy reforms to allow Medicare to negotiate drug prices, end pay-for-delay deals that delay entry of generic drugs into the marketplace, and increase access to lower cost medications through safe prescription drug importation. As part of a larger set of priorities for protecting and strengthening the healthcare system, AARP boldly declared that any changes to the healthcare law must include solutions to address rising prescription drug costs. (more…)
We are pleased to announce that Senator Amy Klobuchar (D-MN) recently introduced legislation aimed at lowering the high cost of prescription drugs for the 41 million seniors enrolled in Medicare. If enacted, S. 1688, The Empowering Medicare Seniors to Negotiate Drug Prices Act, would allow the Secretary of Health and Human Services to negotiate fair prescription drug prices under Part D of the Medicare program. The federal government spends far more on prescription drugs purchased for Medicare enrollees than it spends for Medicaid and the Veterans Administration because the current law prohibits Medicare from negotiating lower prices with pharmaceutical companies.
S. 1688 would eliminate the “non-interference” clause in Title XVIII of the Social Security Act, which expressly bans Medicare from negotiating drug prices. The language in S. 1688 is less restrictive than similar legislation, S. 41, also introduced by Sen. Klobuchar earlier this year. That legislation, S. 41, the Medicare Prescription Drug Price Negotiation Act of 2017, would prohibit the Secretary of Health and Human Services from establishing or requiring a fixed drug formulary for any prescription drug plan in Medicare; S. 1688 wisely omits this binding language.(more…)