We are pleased to announce that U.S. Senator Angus King (I-ME) has received the Prescription Justice 5-star rating based on his full support of the organization’s Policy Platform to lower drug prices here and expand access to safe and affordable medication from other countries. Senator King’s 5-star rating reflects his unwavering support of commonsense policy solutions to end the prescription drug affordability crisis.
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.
While the intense focus in Congress last week was the passage of the American Healthcare Act, millions of Americans continue to struggle with the cost of prescription medications. In 2016, 45 million Americans did not fill a prescription because of cost, and a recent poll commissioned by Prescription Justice shows that 75% Americans agree with President Trump that they drug companies are getting away with murder.
Not just individual patients but federal and state governments face an uphill budget battle as well. Public programs like Medicare, Medicaid and the Department of Veteran's Affairs continue to grapple with dramatic price increases that are crippling their budgets.
Last week, Senators Bernie Sanders (I-VT) and Amy Klobuchar (D-MN) proposed an amendment (S.A. 178) to the Senate Budget Reconciliation bill that would allow individuals, pharmacies and wholesalers to import prescription medications from Canada and other countries with a valid prescription from a U.S. provider.
The amendment took place during a 7-hour vote-a-rama in which more than 150 amendments were considered and voted on for a brief ten minutes. The amendment failed 52-46, with 13 Democrats voting against it. While the measure failed to pass, it surprisingly garnered support from 12 Republicans including Senators Ted Cruz and Rand Paul. It’s worth noting that Senators Chuck Schumer (D-NY) and Kristen Gillibrand (D-NY) voted against the Dorgan-Snowe importation amendment in 2009, voted yes this time around.
The Medicare Drug Price Negotiation Act is the type of legislative reform that America needs to reduce our spiraling national prescription drug bill. Here’s why.
Medicare Parts B and D, together representing the nation’s largest prescription drug program, help cover drug costs for approximately 55 million people. While that population represents just a fraction of 1% of the world, their Medicare drug bill in 2014 was $143 billion or just under 15% of the world’s total pharmaceutical market of that year (about $1.06 trillion according to IMS Health). Even at that level of expenditure, millions of older Americans continue struggling to fill their prescriptions.