Landmark Legislation Would Deliver Relief From Pharma Rip-Offs Through Competition

Nov. 20, 2018

Landmark Legislation Would Deliver Relief From Pharma Rip-Offs Through Competition

Statement of Robert Weissman, President, Public Citizen

Note: Today, U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) and Rep. Ro Khanna (D-Calif.) introduced The Prescription Drug Price Relief Act of 2018. The act requires the U.S. Secretary of Health and Human Services to license generic and biosimilar competition on patented prescription products when they are deemed excessively priced or cost more than the median in Canada, the United Kingdom, Germany, France and Japan.

American consumers pay far too much for medicines, not because it is costly to manufacture them or even because of the expense of research and development. We pay too much because the U.S. government grants patents and other monopolies to brand-name manufacturers, then stands aside as the pharmaceutical industry exploits those monopolies to gouge consumers and the government itself.

This proposal would end Big Pharma rip-offs by relying on generic competition as the cure for brand name companies’ unconscionable pricing. This is a commonsense, market-based solution to help ensure that consumers would no longer have to ration access to treatment (one in six Americans report skipping prescriptions because of cost issues) or go into debt to obtain the medicines they need. We applaud Senator Sanders and Representative Khanna for their leadership and will be working to build support for their legislation.

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