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60+ Groups Demand Schumer, Pelosi Not Cave To Big Pharma, Include Medicare Expansion in Build Back Better Package

WASHINGTON, D.C. – More than 60 national, state and local groups today sent a letter to Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer and Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, urging the Democratic leaders to resist demands from some caucus members seeking to weaken the Medicare drug price negotiation policies in the Build Back Better Act.

“There are few issues of greater salience to people across this country than lowering drug prices, and few policies more common sense and popular than Medicare drug price negotiation,” said Steve Knievel, an advocate for Public Citizen’s Access to Medicines program. “Leader Schumer and Speaker Pelosi know this, and it is why they have promised it for years. Now it is time to deliver.”

The groups, including Public Citizen, Indivisible, People’s Action and Social Security Works, contended that weakening this popular policy would leave campaign promises unfulfilled and allow Big Pharma to continue to price gouge and profiteer from exorbitantly high drug prices. A recent Public Citizen report found that for top drugs, Big Pharma received twice as much revenue from the U.S. than from the rest of the world combined. Some Democratic caucus members, including U.S. Reps. Scott Peters (D-Calif.), Kurt Schrader (D-Ore.) and Kathleen Rice (D-N.Y.), have proposed changes that would render price negotiations virtually meaningless by excluding patented drugs from negotiations and removing the excise tax penalty to enforce drug corporation participation.

“We stand with you to fulfill your long-standing promises to pass drug price negotiation and bold drug pricing reform, and to finally deliver on years of promises to enact one of the most common sense and popular measures ever demanded of Congress,” the letter said.

The letter follows a similar letter to Democratic leadership from 77 organizations, urging the inclusion of Medicare drug price negotiation and Medicare expansion in the Democrats’ reconciliation package.

Read the full letter here.