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Brown-Gillibrand Bill Would Stop Pharma Price Gouging

June 15, 2017

Brown-Gillibrand Bill Would Stop Pharma Price Gouging

EpiPen, Opioid Addiction Treatment Prices Would Fall; Superior to Planned Trump Executive Order

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Corporations that increase prices beyond the level of medical inflation would face a severe penalty on their profits under newly introduced legislation in the U.S. Senate, Public Citizen said today. U.S. Sens. Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio) and Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.) announced the introduction of the Stop Price Gouging Act to limit annual prescription price spikes or cumulative price hikes over a five-year period.

From the EpiPen to Evzio, allergies to opioids, vulnerable Americans are suffering and having their access to care rationed because of price hikes from prescription corporations. If passed, the legislation will finally impose penalties that are proportionate to the severity of the exorbitant price spikes corporations regularly impose on consumers.

“Public Citizen applauds the leadership of Sens. Brown and Gillibrand for their introduction of the Stop Price Gouging Act,” said Robert Weissman, president of Public Citizen. “This bill is the cure for the epidemic of pharmaceutical price spikes that is leading to the rationing of treatment from the EpiPen to the opioid antidote Evzio.”

“At a time when Americans of all political stripes are demanding that our elected officials take action to lower medicine prices” said Steven Knievel, advocate in Public Citizen’s Access to Medicines program. “The Stop Price Gouging Act is a superior alternative to the measures under consideration now for a Trump administration executive order. Imposing rules that make other countries pay more would do nothing to limit pharma greed at home.”

Egregious price-spikers like Pharma-Bro Shkreli, Mylan CEO Heather Bresch and opioid overdose treatment manufacturer Kaléo Pharmaceuticals have grabbed the headlines, but they’re only the tip of the iceberg when it comes to pharmaceutical corporations profiteering off of the health of our loved ones through price hikes on lifesaving medicines.

A recent Public Citizen survey showed that only 14 percent of the world’s top 29 pharmaceutical corporations were willing to limit annual price increases to less than 10 percent. Already this year, Pfizer spiked prices on more than 90 prescription medicines by more than 20 percent on average. Nearly 28 million Americans have personally experienced a price hike in the past year.

Academic experts estimated that the Stop Price Gouging Act approach “could fundamentally alter the dynamics of pharmaceutical pricing in the United States and result in initial tax receipts of up to tens of billions of dollars annually.”

“Without clear boundaries on pharma profiteering, pharmaceutical corporations will continue to charge consumers and taxpayers extraordinarily high prices because they can – and families across the country will continue to be forced into choices between health and other basic necessities of life, from buying groceries to paying the mortgage or rent,” Knievel continued. “Instead of working overtime to take away healthcare from millions of people from America’s most vulnerable populations, Congress should pass the Stop Price Gouging Act without delay.”