WASHINGTON, DC — Ahead of this week’s vote on H.R. 3, landmark legislation that will overhaul America’s rigged drug pricing system, patients from across the country sent a letter to House leaders expressing support for the bill and urging passage. The Lower Drug Costs Now Act would let the government negotiate lower drug prices for Americans, use the savings from negotiation to add hearing, vision, and dental coverage for Medicare beneficiaries, and support innovation by directing billions of dollars to the National Institutes of Health.
“Americans have been waiting for this reform since powerful drug corporations blocked Medicare from negotiating lower prices nearly two decades ago,” said David Mitchell, a cancer patient and the founder of Patients For Affordable Drugs Now in a letter signed by 16 other patient advocates from across the country. “This week, the House can rectify that injustice and put our nation on a road to affordable drug prices and better health.”
The letter is signed by patients with cancer, autoimmune conditions, genetic diseases, and other chronic conditions that require expensive medications. They are covered by Medicare, Medicaid, employer plans, and through the individual marketplace, and require drugs ranging in price from $10,000 to $875,000 per year.
Momentum for the bill continues to grow. Since the bill’s introduction in September, more than 106 Members of Congress have cosponsored the bill, and dozens more supported passage in key House committees.
H.R. 3 would:
- Let Medicare negotiate lower drug prices and extend lower prices to all Americans with public or private sector insurance.
- Cap out-of-pocket spending at $2,000 for Medicare beneficiaries. Currently, seniors can pay more than $15,000 a year for a single prescription drug.
- Stop drug company price gouging by requiring corporations to pay Medicare if drug prices increase faster than the rate of inflation.
- Add hearing, dental, and vision coverage for Medicare beneficiaries.
- Support innovation and new drug development by investing savings from Medicare negotiations into the world-class research being done at the NIH.
The letter to support H.R. 3 follows the launch in October of a multi-million dollar advertising campaign featuring TV, digital, and radio ads to support the passage of H.R. 3, along with drug pricing reforms proposed in the Senate and by the Trump administration. Nine of 10 Americans from both political parties agree one of Congress’ top priorities should be to lower drug prices.
Dec. 10, 2019
Dear Chairmen Neal, Pallone, and Scott,
We write to express our strong support for H.R. 3 — The Lower Drug Costs Now Act.
As patients with cancer, autoimmune conditions, genetic diseases and other chronic conditions that require expensive medications, we each have a personal stake in this fight. We are covered by Medicare, Medicaid, employer-sponsored insurance, and through the individual marketplace. Our drug prices range from $10,000 to $875,000 per year.
We need this reform. The time for waiting is over.
Our stories demonstrate why 86% of Americans support letting Medicare negotiate directly with drug companies. H.R. 3 heeds this call and takes reforms further by extending lower prices to people who receive drug coverage from private sector insurers as well. H.R. 3 will improve health by ensuring Americans can afford to take drugs as prescribed; it will also improve Medicare beneficiary health by adding dental, vision, and hearing benefits to the program. Importantly, it will support innovation and new drug development by increasing funding for the NIH and FDA.
All of the signers of this letter traveled to Washington D.C. in recent months to meet with our elected officials and demand action to lower drug prices. Today, we urge passage of the Elijah E. Cummings Lower Drug Costs Now Act. If we could make one amendment to the bill, we would request that Congress extend the bill’s provisions to Americans without insurance coverage — who are often faced with the most critical affordability challenges at the pharmacy counter.
Americans have been waiting for this reform since powerful drug corporations blocked Medicare from negotiating lower prices nearly two decades ago. This week, the House can rectify that injustice and put our nation on a road to affordable drug prices and better health.
David Mitchell, Bethesda, MD, Multiple Myeloma
Robin Bennett, Grand Island, NE, Type 2 Diabetes
Marta Deike, Lodi, CA, Lambert-Eaton Myasthenic Syndrome
Tiburon Erickson, Taylorsville, UT, Mother of Type 1 Diabetic
Ethan Erickson, Taylorsville, UT, Type 1 Diabetes
Robert Fowler, Ridgeville, OH, Multiple Myeloma
Rose Hernandez, California City, CA, Asthma
Kimberly Ishoy, South Jordan, UT, Type 1 Diabetes
Juliana Keeping, Silver Spring, MD, Mother of Cystic Fibrosis son
Luz Lopez, Phoenix, AZ, Fibromyalgia
Karen Macedon, Sacramento, CA, Type 2 Diabetes
DJ Clayton Martin, Jacksonville, FL, Sickle Cell Disease
Clayton McCook, Oklahoma City, OK, Father of Type 1 Diabetic
Jacquie Persson, Waterloo, IA, Crohn’s Disease
Sam Reid, Washington, D.C., Crohn’s Disease
Lauren Stanford , Washington, D.C., Type 1 Diabetes
Ashley Suder, McMehen, WV, Lupus