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Legislators Lost an Opportunity to Curb Pharmaceutical Industry’s Abusive Practices

Feb. 8, 2018

Legislators Lost an Opportunity to Curb Pharmaceutical Industry’s Abusive Practices

Statement of Steven Knievel, Advocate, Public Citizen’s Access to Medicines Program

Note: In the final stretch of budget negotiations this week, legislators dropped a reform that would have helped generic medications reach the market expeditiously and reduced prices through market competition. The CREATES Act (S. 974/H.R. 2212, Creating and Restoring Equal Access to Equivalent Samples Act), included in negotiations until the final hours, would stop brand-name medication manufacturers from preventing generic manufacturers from receiving the product samples they need to bring competing products to market. Instead, legislators advanced a measure to increase pharmaceutical company discounts and accelerate closing of the Medicare Part D “doughnut hole.” Public Citizen will have statements and analysis on the full budget package as details emerge and events unfold in Congress.

Foregoing the CREATES Act is a mistake and a lost opportunity to curb the abusive practices of prescription drug corporations. Americans overwhelmingly support disciplining Big Pharma to help make therapies affordable. The CREATES Act is a start; it’s a key structural reform that we can still pass this year. Congress should pass CREATES and get on to the big reforms Americans want, such as allowing the government to negotiate lower medicine prices for seniors on Medicare.

Americans’ outrage at unaffordable treatments made possible today’s compromise to accelerate closing of the doughnut hole. This is a good thing that will save seniors money, though ultimately less than seniors and the government will save by tackling pharma power head on through the CREATES Act and more robust reforms like Medicare negotiation.