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10.07.2019 / Press Release

Statement: National Coalition Agrees – H.R. 3 Will Help Lower Prescription Drug Costs and Hold Big Pharma Accountable

Washington, D.C. – The Coalition for Fair Drug Prices released the following statement regarding the prescription drug bill introduced September 19 by Chairman Frank Pallone, Chairman Richard Neal, and Chairman Bobby Scott. The coalition—which launched in March—consists of organizations (see list below) representing health care consumers, labor unions and health care providers. They are united around a collective desire to hold policymakers accountable for reining in high and rising prescription drug prices that are detrimental to consumers’ health and financial well-being.

H.R. 3 is an important step forward in crafting legislation that will lower prescription drug prices in America and achieve the principles of the Coalition for Fair Drug Prices.

The bill includes several key provisions that directly address the cost of prescription drugs and hold drug corporations accountable. These include allowing Medicare to negotiate prices for the first time, limiting the ability of drug companies to spike their prices overnight, and ensuring that actions to address egregious prices apply to coverage beyond Medicare. If enacted, it would help improve access to affordable medicines for millions.

Members of the coalition plan to work with committees during the legislative process to ensure the benefits of lower prices and protection against price spikes reach as many people as possible, including by incorporating tools to lower launch prices, expanding covered drugs, and giving the government power to achieve fair prices when there are too few competitors or international reference prices are too high.

We look forward to working through the legislative process to advance policy that will lower drug prices. We call on President Trump and Senate leaders to keep the promises they have made by joining with House Democratic leadership to enact meaningful legislation to lower drug prices.

“Under Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s leadership, House Democrats have taken a significant step to combat expensive prescription drug prices and address a problem that has been wreaking havoc on families’ physical and financial health,” said Frederick Isasi, executive director of Families USA. “For far too long, rising drug costs have forced consumers to make drastic choices between their health care and basic needs. It should not be commonplace for individuals to weigh paying for life-saving medication or their mortgage. Nearly one in three consumers facing increased drug costs spend less on groceries to account for the increase. And stories like that of Catherine Horine from Illinois, who spends exactly half of her monthly retirement on prescription drugs, are becoming the norm, rather than an anomaly.”

“The pain that millions of people experience today through treatment rationing and medical bankruptcy demands an incredibly strong government response, to finally make medicine affordable,” said Peter Maybarduk, Director of Access to Medicines at Public Citizen. “H.R. 3 is an important step that should be commended but immediately strengthened. We need tools to reduce launch prices, which are increasing every year. We need to cover more medicines and programs, and we have to be able to say no when prices are too high. The next necessary step is challenging the monopoly power of prescription drug corporations.”