As President Donald Trump gives his big speech on drug prices today, we’re going to highlight a young candidate for U.S. Congress who is clearly on the side of the people on the issue of drug prices. Ryan Watts, Democratic candidate for Congress in the 6th District of North Carolina, became the first candidate to complete the Prescription Justice Drug Prices Policy Platform Questionnaire, a national bipartisan effort to provide members of Congress and candidates for statewide and federal offices an opportunity to state their position on the Prescription Justice policy platform.
Prescription Justice heartily endorses Utah bill HB 163, The Prescription Drug Affordability Act, and applauds Utah Representative Norman Thurston (R-63), its lead sponsor. The bill envisions the federal government permitting Utah to import wholesale quantities of FDA-approved drugs from Canada, which would then be dispensed to patients at retail pharmacies and hospitals in Utah. Canadian wholesale pharmacy prices are much lower on many expensive brand name drugs. Utahans would stand to save hundreds of millions of dollars on their collective pharmacy bill.
Prescription Justice recently joined with nine other health, social justice and consumer advocacy organizations to launch a petition to demand Congress act to bring relief to the millions of Americans who can't afford the prescription drugs they need. The online petition largely echoes the Prescription Justice policy platform which prioritizes ending the ban on Medicare negotiating drug prices, making pay-for-delay deals illegal, and permitting wider access to lower-cost, imported medication through legislative, regulatory, and policy reforms.
As we leave 2017 behind, the crisis of high prescription drug prices continues to threaten the health and well-being of Americans who struggle to access life-saving medications. Millions of Americans are forced to choose between taking the medicine they need, paying the rent or buying food for their families; tens of millions don’t take prescribed medication; and federal and state budgets are overwhelmed. At Prescription Justice, we are dedicated solely to putting an end to this devastating crisis.
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.