WASHINGTON — As millions of Americans demand lower drug prices, momentum continues to build for policy changes out of the House and Senate. Three House committees voted to advance HR 3, two Republican senators announced their strong support for the Senate Finance Package, and patients spoke up in a multi-million dollar ad campaign urging Washington to rein in skyrocketing drug prices without delay.
“The past week demonstrates that the power of millions of Americans demanding lower drug prices can overcome Big Pharma’s false claims and fear mongering,” said David Mitchell, a cancer patient and the founder of Patients For Affordable Drugs Now. “Americans are done listening to pharma’s tired lies and are pushing their elected officials to act immediately.”
In the past week, America has witnessed:
- HOUSE MOMENTUM BUILDING: Three House committees voted to advance HR 3 — the Elijah E. Cummings Lower Drug Costs Now Act — to a vote in the full House of Representatives. The bill would allow Medicare to negotiate directly with drug corporations on behalf of all Americans — regardless of insurance type. The Ways & Means Committee strengthened the bill Tuesday by voting to direct savings from lower prices toward new dental, vision, and hearing benefits for Medicare beneficiaries. In just the last week, 19 additional HR 3 cosponsors were added to bring the total to 68 members.
- GROWING SENATE SUPPORT: The Prescription Drug Pricing Reduction Act of 2019 continued to pick up support in the Senate. Senators Kevin Cramer (R-ND) and Chuck Grassley (R-IA) published an op-edexpressing strong support for the bill. Senators Cassidy (R-LA) and Grassley penned a separate op-ed demonstrating continued support from the Louisiana senator whose vote was critical to passage out of the Senate Finance Committee. Senator Susan Collins (R-ME) also recentlylent her support to the bill.
- PATIENT VOICES GROWING LOUDER: Patients For Affordable Drugs Now launched a multi-million dollar campaign to urge Congress and the White House to seize the moment and act now to lower drug prices. The initiative includes TV, radio and digital advertising, social media, and mobilization of patients to contact their elected officials. This is in the face of more than $5 million in false and misleading ads from Big Pharma and groups it has funded to scare Americans, and almost $18 million in lobbying in the third quarter of this year alone.
Polling shows Americans say lowering drug prices should be Congress’s top priority among all health issues. Almost 90 percent of Americans support allowing the government to negotiate directly with drug corporations. Four out of five Americans blame high drug company profits for high prices. Three out of four Americans don’t trust drug companies to price their products fairly.