March 29, 2017
Landmark Legislation Would Lower U.S. Prescription Prices
Public Citizen Applauds Sweeping Bicameral Legislation to Increase Access to Medications for U.S. Consumers and Hold Pharmaceutical Corporations Accountable for Wrongdoing
WASHINGTON, D.C. – At a time when the majority of Americans think that lowering the cost of prescriptions should be a top health care priority for the Trump administration and Congress, Public Citizen applauded U.S. Sen. Al Franken’s (D-Minn.) introduction today of the “Improving Access to Affordable Prescription Drugs Act.”
Among other reforms, the legislation would curb the monopoly abuses of pharmaceutical corporations that keep prices high, penalize companies that engage in price gouging, finally allow Medicare to negotiate fair prices for seniors, cap out-of-pocket medicine costs in health insurance plans and require transparency from the pharmaceutical industry.
“This is one of the most comprehensive reforms of the pharmaceutical industry ever proposed,” said Peter Maybarduk, director of Public Citizen’s Access to Medicines Program. “Medical treatment rationing is a painful reality for millions of Americans. Americans are splitting pills, skipping pills and making impossible decisions about when we can afford to pay for groceries versus when we can afford to pay for the medical care our families need. The core problem is monopoly power. We can change it and make medicine affordable for all. This legislation is a deep challenge to the corrosive political influence of the pharmaceutical industry.”
Added Steven Knievel, advocate for Public Citizen’s Access to Medicines Program, “Rather than take away health insurance and essential benefits from millions of Americans, Congress should take action and pass this legislation. It is morally wrong that some people do not have access to the medicines they need to lead healthy and productive lives, particularly given that our country pays the pharmaceutical industry $457 billion annually. Enough is enough.”
Public Citizen and allies, representing millions of consumer and grassroots advocates, public health experts and health care providers across the country, sent a letter to Congress today urging swift passage of the measure.
“This Act is a significant step toward addressing one of the leading drivers of healthcare costs for the federal government and patients – prescription drug prices,” the letters states.
“[I]t provides a common-sense approach to tackle the urgent problem of people lacking access to the medicines they need to lead healthy and productive lives,” the letter continues. “Congress cannot afford to sit idly by while price gouging continues. We urge you to pass the Improving Access to Affordable Prescription Drugs Act without delay.”
If passed, the legislation would bring down prescription costs and effectively challenge the pharmaceutical industry’s economic and political power. It is sensible, long-needed, comprehensive and worthy of broad-based bipartisan support, Public Citizen maintains.
In addition to Franken, the legislation was introduced by Sens. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), Sheldon Whitehouse (D-R.I.), Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio), Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.), Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.), Tammy Baldwin (D-Wis.), Jack Reed (D-R.I.), Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.), Maggie Hassan (D-N.H.), Dick Durbin (D-Ill.), Chris Van Hollen (D-Md.), Jeff Merkley (D-Ore.), Tom Udall (D-N.M.) Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.) and Cory Booker (D-N.J.) in the Senate, and U.S. Reps. Janice Schakowsky (D-Ill.), Elijah Cummings (D-Md.), Peter Welch (D-Vt.) and Rosa DeLauro (D-Conn.) in the U.S. House of Representatives.
A section-by-section summary and context can be found here.
A section-by-section summary (long) can be found here.
The organizational support and sign-on letter can be found here.
To find more information about this bill click here.