WASHINGTON, D.C. — New data from the Centers For Medicare and Medicaid Services emphasized the need for Congress to pass the CREATES Act, a bipartisan bill that would lower drug prices and save taxpayers billions.
The CMS Drug Spending Dashboard revealed the cancer drug Revlimid, while taken by only 37,500 Americans on Medicare Part D, was responsible for the highest total spending for any drug in the program in 2017. Patients on Part D pay out-of-pocket costs based on the list prices of medications. Revlimid currently costs $21,000 per month, meaning Medicare Part D beneficiaries owe $2,600 for the first month’s supply of the medication.
“The CREATES Act would lower drug prices by stopping corporations like Celgene from blocking competition,” said David Mitchell, a cancer patient and the founder of Patients For Affordable Drugs Now. “This report reveals why this bill is so important. If passed, American patients would get access to less-expensive cancer drugs and taxpayers would save $3.9 billion.”
Celgene, the drug corporation that makes Revlimid, refuses to provide samples of the drug to generic drugmakers by hiding behind a federal safety program called Risk Evaluation and Mitigation Strategies.
The FDA released a list of 150 brand drugmakers blocking generic drugmakers’ access to their products. At the time, FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb said, “I want to be very clear: a path to securing samples of brand drugs for the purpose of generic drug development should always be available.” Last week, Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azarannounced that the Trump Administration supported passage of the CREATES Act.
According to polling conducted by the Republican-led research firm GS Strategy Group, voters support passage of the CREATES Act by an 83-to-9 margin.