06.22.2021 / Statement
Statement: Chairman Wyden Offers Sound Principles to Help Families Tackle High Prescription Drug Costs
Washington, D.C. – Frederick Isasi, Executive Director of Families USA, released the following statement on Senate Finance Committee Chairman Ron Wyden’s principles aimed at lowering prescription drug costs.
Chairman Wyden Offers Sound Principles to Help Families Tackle High Prescription Drug Costs
“We welcome today’s Senate Finance release of Principles for Drug Pricing Reform. Too many families across the country are rationing unaffordable medicines and grappling with an unrestrained pharmaceutical industry that abuses the current system to charge exorbitant prices and maintain highly profitable monopolies, at the expensive of real innovation and patient affordability. And, just a couple of weeks ago, we even witnessed an astronomically expensive drug for Alzheimer’s receive FDA approval despite the fact that it wasn’t proven safe nor effective.
“This has to stop.
“Across the nation, nearly 9 out of 10 voters, regardless of background or political affiliation, are imploring Congress to act now to lower the cost of prescription drugs.
These principles represent another important step toward addressing an egregious problem that has plagued America’s health care system for far too long. And they include several key and necessary elements:
- Addressing both the initial “launch” prices of drugs and subsequent price increases;
- Authorizing Medicare price negotiation using a methodology consistent with affordability – one which incentivizes true innovation;
- Tackling market failures that allow high prices on older drugs without competition and ending gaming of the patent system; and
- Ensuring strong measures to bring pharmaceutical companies to the table for negotiation and prevent sabotage or withdrawal from a negotiation process.
“Lowering drug prices will go a long way toward ensuring families get the best health and health care, particularly when coupled with other significant policies to improve affordability, including: extending the American Rescue Plan’s premium reductions to make marketplace coverage more comprehensive with lower deductibles; adding dental, vision, and hearing benefits to Medicare; and closing the coverage gap for low-income people in Medicaid non-expansion states.
“These principles, together with the re-introduction of H.R. 3 in the House, and the public support of virtually all Democratic Senators for Medicare prescription drug negotiation, make it clear that bold prescription drug pricing reforms CAN pass Congress this year. President Biden reaffirmed his commitment to lower the cost of prescription drugs in his FY2022 Budget proposal.
“But drug companies are one of the most politically powerful groups in the nation. This is truly a David and Goliath fight. We look forward to working with the Senate Finance Committee and other champions in the House and Senate to fulfill the promise of these principles.”