Last Friday, President Trump unveiled his blueprint to lower drug prices named American Patients First. Sadly, the Administration’s plan excludes Trump’s campaign promises to use the massive buying power of the government's Medicare program to negotiate lower prices for older Americans and provide greater access to imported, lower-cost medications. (more…)
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. (more…)
A group of over 50 healthcare providers, including physicians, nurses and physician assistants, have come together to demand the federal government stop any action that would restrict access to lifesaving medications through personal prescription importation.
In a letter sent to President Donald Trump, members of Congress and the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), the healthcare providers expressed their alarm over FDA’s action in Florida against offices that primarily serve older Americans who prefer in-person assistance with purchasing medications from Canada and other countries, rather than using an internet site. Last year, FDA agents armed with search warrants notified the office owners that importing drugs is illegal and those who help “administer” such drugs could face fines or jail time. Yet, according to its owners, these offices do not dispense or administer medication to patients. (more…)
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…)
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.
Congress has introduced several bills in 2017 to address the crisis of high drug prices. Here’s a summary:
Improving Access to Affordable Prescription Drugs Act (HR 1776/S. 771)
On March 29, S. 771, The Improving Access to Affordable Prescription Drugs Act (Act), was introduced by Senator Al Franken (D-MN) and fifteen Democratic co-sponsors. A companion bill (HR 1776) was also introduced in the House by Representative Jan Schakowsky (D-IL) with four Democratic co-sponsors.
"By introducing the Affordable and Safe Prescription Drug Importation Act, Sens. Sanders, Booker and Casey have heeded the call of the millions of Americans who struggle each year with the insurmountable costs of prescription drugs " said Jodi Dart, executive director of Prescription Justice. "This legislation will provide new safety protocols and guidance for American consumers who need access to lower cost medications from safe international pharmacies, beginning with Canada. Last year, 45 million Americans did not fill a prescription because of costs, and a recent poll commissioned by Prescription Justice shows overwhelming majorities support changes that will bring down drug prices. President Trump and members of Congress have an opportunity to make good on their promises to lower drug prices for American consumers. We hope they will have the political will and courage to pass this important legislation."
Prescription Justice is a non-profit organization that brings together doctors, lawyers, public health advocates, and companies dedicated to helping people afford medication. Prescription Justice advocates for legislative and policy reforms to allow personal prescription importation, permitting Medicare to negotiate drug prices, and ending "pay to delay" activities by pharmaceutical companies that prevent lower cost generics from coming to market.
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. (more…)
Value-based pharmaceutical pricing, aimed at achieving better value for pharmaceutical spending and lowering drug prices, while maintaining innovation, is a concept that is gaining traction. In the U.S., prescription drug prices are set by pharmaceutical companies to maximize profits, not based on how well a drug works. In contrast, according to its proponents, value-based drug pricing would mean real health outcomes (not just profits) determine the cost of a drug.
President-Elect Trump’s push for healthcare reform that focuses on free market, consumer-driven initiatives will enhance the political viability of value-based drug pricing. It has more support by the pharmaceutical industry than other popular policies to bring down drug prices, as it’s viewed as more in line with free market principles than other policy proposals, such as allowing Medicare to negotiate drug prices.
Last year, U.S. spending on prescription drugs was at a record breaking $425 billion before discounts, and is expected to rise by 22% annually over the next five years, which is 400%, or over $600 billion by 2020. As Donald Trump is sworn in as the 45th president of the United States, Americans across the country concerned with the soaring costs of prescription medications, will be looking to President Trump and Congress for solutions to address this national crisis.
President-Elect Trump’s top priority for healthcare reform is to repeal the Affordable Care Act, but most Americans are more concerned about prescription drug prices than Obamacare. A recent Kaiser Health Tracking Poll found that nearly 74 percent of Americans agree that a top priority for the next president and Congress should be to ensure that drugs for chronic health conditions are affordable for patients. Additionally, 63 percent believe that the federal government’s top priority should be to lower the cost of prescription medications. Last week, President-Elect Trump released a brief healthcare plan on his transition website. While the newest healthcare plan does not include prescription drug pricing, during the campaign Mr. Trump declared support for allowing Americans to import lower cost medications as part of his 7-point healthcare plan. Although not noted on that plan, President-Elect Trump voiced support for Medicare drug price negotiations during his campaign.