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.
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.
The Prescription Justice coalition letter from last month, signed by a growing number of consumer, health and social justice organizations, supports S. 469/ H.R. 1245, The Affordable and Safe Prescription Drug Importation Act of 2017, introduced by Senator Bernie Sanders, I-VT and Representative Elijah Cummings, D-MD. If enacted, this bill would allow individuals, pharmacies and wholesalers to import FDA-approved medications from Canada, and then, after two years, from other countries with equally rigorous systems for regulating the safety and efficacy of pharmaceuticals.
Prescription Justice also supports S. 64 / H.R. 1480, The Safe and Affordable Drugs from Canada Act of 2017, introduced by Senator John McCain, R-AZ and Representative Chellie Pingree, D-ME.
Recently, The Hill featured the Op-Ed, A tale of two drug bills — one proposed bill will worsen the drug prices crisis, by Gabriel Levitt, President of Prescription Justice. Mr. Levitt’s Op-Ed provides an insightful look at legislation targeting two distinct public health problems, but only one has the capacity to inflict further devastation from the public health crisis that is high drug prices. The Synthetics Trafficking & Overdose Prevention Act of 2017 (STOP Act), introduced by Sen. Rob Portman (R- OH) aims to stop the flow of the highly addictive synthetic opioid fentanyl from coming into the U.S. by requiring the U.S. Postal Service (USPS) to obtain information about packages coming from foreign sources.
The Brussels Principles underscore the importance of the international online marketplace as a lifeline of affordable medication for the millions of people forced to go without necessary treatment due to drug cost and availability. On March 31st, 2017, Prescription Justice organized a panel for the RightsCon 2017 conference in Brussels, which addressed protecting online access to safe and affordable medication.