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.This legislation is the type of reform to lower drug prices that almost all Americans across party lines favor. Specifically, 92% of Republicans and independents and 96% of Democrats) favor allowing Medicare to negotiate drug prices, according to a national survey by the Kaiser Family Foundation.
Medicare drug price negotiations, one of Prescription Justice’s core policy priorities, is a necessary step in the battle to lower drug prices in America. We applaud the members of Congress for their leadership in introducing this important legislation.