WASHINGTON, D.C. – Democrats must make good on their campaign promises and include meaningful prescription drug pricing reform and broad Medicare drug price negotiations in the budget reconciliation package, Public Citizen and 31 other health care advocacy organizations said Tuesday in a letter to top House and Senate committee chairs.
“President Biden and congressional leaders will soon demonstrate to Americans hungry for drug pricing reform whether promises made are promises kept, or if lawmakers’ complicity in drug corporation price gouging will persist,” said Steven Knievel, advocate for Public Citizen’s Access to Medicines program.
The letter was addressed to U.S. Sen. Ron Wyden (D-Ore.) and U.S. Reps. Frank Pallone, Jr. (D-N.J.) and Richard Neal (D-Mass.).
Medicare drug price negotiations and price spike protections should provide benefits to all patients, not just Medicare patients. Bold drug price reform legislation would include pricing negotiations for an expansive array of prescription drugs – not just a select few impacted by the very worst pharmaceutical corporation pricing abuses, the groups said.
Such bold drug pricing reform would generate significant estimated savings, upwards of $450 billion over 10 years, which can help address other health care needs. The Congressional Budget Office has estimated that adding dental, hearing and vision to Medicare would cost less than $360 billion over ten years. If drug pricing reform in the Democrats’ reconciliation package is weakened or not advanced, the funding for these vital expansions would be threatened.
A weak reconciliation package would leave unfulfilled numerous Democratic pledges to address one of Americans’ most pressing priorities, the groups added. Drug corporations would continue to be allowed to price gouge patients on a wide array of medicines, tens of millions of Americans would remain at the mercy of monopolistic pricing, and other health care priorities would risk being sent to the chopping block due to lawmakers’ failure to generate adequate savings for reinvestment.