MILWAUKEE, WI – This week, several House committees voted to advance the “Elijah Eugene Cummings Lower Drug Prices Now Act” (H.R. 3), the landmark bill introduced by House Democrats, and endorsed by AARP, that takes aggressive measures to hold drug companies accountable for creating a rigged system and lowers costs by giving Medicare the power to negotiate for lower drug prices. Republicans, including Rep. Glenn Grothman (WI-06) stood with big pharma to vote against this common sense legislation to lower prescription drug costs. In response, Protect Our Care Joe Zepecki released the following statement:
“With the passage of H.R. 3 out of committee, Democrats are putting the fight to bring down the skyrocketing costs of prescription drugs front and center for the American people. Republicans like Rep. Glenn Grothman had every opportunity to prove to Wisconsinites that they are serious about lowering prescription drug costs by supporting H.R. 3, but predictably they voted against the bill and stood with big pharma. The American people are watching as Republicans continue putting drug and insurance company profits ahead of the people of Wisconsin.”
House Democrats’ Bold Plan: The Lower Drug Costs Now Act
House Democrats have put forward an aggressive plan to reduce the price of drugs for every American family — taking on the drug companies, leveling the playing field so Americans don’t pay more than other countries for their medicines, and ending the rigged system that keeps drug company profits and prices high. This plan delivers on the promise Democrats made in 2018 to reduce the cost of drugs and take on the big drug companies but Republicans continue to stand with the drug companies instead.
Too many American families are staying up at night worrying about rising prescription drug prices and choosing between getting their medication and paying their rent. The big drug companies have spent billions to rig the system so they keep prices high and profits going up, but that ends with this bill.
The plan gives Medicare the power to negotiate with drug companies for lower drug prices.
Not only will those on Medicare benefit from lower drug prices, but the lower prices would apply to anyone purchasing drugs whether or not they are covered by Medicare. Prices would go down for those who get insurance from employers and buy it directly from insurance companies. Whether you’re a child with asthma, a teen with diabetes or a young parent with a rare illness, this bill will bring drug prices down for everyone.
This plan will reverse unjustified price gouging for thousands of medications, including insulin, and require drug companies to lower their prices or pay a penalty.
Drug companies would be penalized if they keep the system rigged and their prices high.
No longer will drug companies be allowed to charge Americans double and triple the price for the same prescription drugs as others pay around the world.
Nonpartisan analysis from the CBO and CMS Office of the Actuary confirms the bill will reduce drug prices by up to 55% and save patients and taxpayers hundreds of billions of dollars over the next few years.
Newly-released analysis from the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office and the CMS Office of the Actuary the bill confirm it will reduce negotiated drug prices by as much as 55 percent – saving patients an estimated $158 billion over the next few years and decreasing deficits by $345 billion.
Republicans continue to stand with the drug companies, and oppose the key elements of this plan to reduce drug prices.
President Trump has stood with the big drug companies whenever he could. He refuses to support Medicare negotiations, gave them billions in tax breaks and has put former drug company executives in charge of his health care policy.
Republicans gave nearly $100 billion in tax breaks to the biggest drug companies just last year.
Big drug company supporters have already started funding secret groups to attack this plan.
Republicans have voted, repeatedly, to let health insurance plans stop covering any of the costs of prescription drugs.
Senate Republicans voted against Medicare negotiations in the Senate Finance Committee last month.
Drug Prices Are Soaring Under Trump
Drug Prices In 2019 Surged Compared To The Year Before. With Hikes At 5 Times Inflation — “More Than 3,400 Drugs Have Boosted Their Prices In The First Six Months Of 2019.” “Price hikes on prescription drugs are surging in 2019, despite vows from the Trump administration to rein in pharmaceutical costs. So far in 2019, more than 3,400 drugs have boosted their prices, a 17% increase compared with the roughly 2,900 drug price increases at the same time in 2018, according to a new analysis by Rx Savings Solutions, a consultant to health plans and employers. The average price hike for those 3,400 drugs stands at 10.5%, or about 5 times the rate of inflation, the study found.” [CBS News, 7/1/19]
AARP Analysis Found Specialty Drug Prices Have Grown More Than Three Times Faster Than Inflation. “The prices of widely used specialty prescription drugs grew more than three times faster than general inflation in 2017…The new report found that the average annual price for a single specialty drug used on a chronic basis is now nearly $79,000, compared to $27,824 in 2006.” [AARP, 6/25/19]
Insulin Costs Have Tripled Over The Past Decade. As costs continue to rise, as many as one in four of the 7.5 million Americans dependent on insulin are skipping or skimping on doses.
Despite Tough Rhetoric, Trump And His Republican Allies Continue To Block Meaningful Reform.
Trump And His Republican Allies Continue To Block Medicare Negotiation For Lower Drug Prices. Even though 86 percent of Americans support allowing the federal government to negotiate drug prices for Medicare beneficiaries, Republicans refuse to allow Medicare to negotiate. A 2018 Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Democratic Committee report found that Medicare Part D could save $2.8 billion in a single year if it were allowed to negotiate drug prices. Although it would decrease both federal spending and beneficiaries’ out-of-pocket costs for prescription drugs, a policy allowing the federal government to negotiate drug prices for Medicare beneficiaries was recently blocked by Senate Republicans.
And Don’t Forget, The Trump Tax Bill Gave Drug Companies Billions Of Dollars In Tax Breaks.
Pharmaceutical Companies Reaped Huge Benefits From The Trump Tax Bill. The Trump tax scam means billions of dollars in tax breaks for pharmaceutical companies. An Axios study found that 21 health care companies collectively expected to gain $10 billion in tax savings during 2018 alone. Most of the tax break for health care companies is going toward share buybacks, dividends, acquisitions and paying down debt. According to Axios, nine pharmaceutical companies are spending a combined $50 billion on new share buyback programs.
Despite Massive Profits From Tax Bill, Pharma Continued To Raise Prices. Pharmaceutical companies raked in more than $30 billion in profits in the third quarter of 2018, with Pfizer alone bringing in $4.1 billion – the highest of any publicly traded health care company. Of the 19 companies that tallied at least $1 billion of third-quarter profit, 14 were drug companies. Meanwhile, pharmaceutical companies continue to increase prices. In January 2019 alone, Pfizer and Novartis announced price increases on dozens of drugs, including increasing the cost of a breast cancer medication to $12,000 for 21 pills.
For more on Trump’s broken promises on drug pricing, click here.