WASHINGTON, DC — Patients For Affordable Drugs Now sent a letter to Capitol Hill this week urging Congress to focus on three topics in upcoming COVID-19 legislative packages: ensuring taxpayer investment into COVID-19 drugs is factored into prices, helping the nation prepare for future public health emergencies, and addressing the high list prices of prescription drugs as Americans struggle with the impact of the pandemic.
“COVID-19 did not make high drug prices go away — it worsened the crisis for patients,” the letter states. “Every dollar we pay in unjustified profits to drug corporations is a dollar we could use to support ordinary Americans whose health and economic well-being has been devastated by this pandemic. If we had unlimited resources as a nation, these choices wouldn’t matter. But we don’t.”
The letter, addressed to congressional leaders in the House and the Senate and signed by patients from all 50 states, calls for congressional action in three key areas:
- Ensure taxpayers have a say in COVID-19 drug pricing. Since March, the Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority (BARDA) has awarded more than $1.2 billion to the pharmaceutical industry for COVID-19 drugs — with no stipulations on fair pricing. As partners in the scientific and funding processes, American taxpayers deserve a say in the price.
- Prioritize long-term incentives for infectious disease research over short-sighted giveaways to the drug industry. Pharma does not need new incentives to develop COVID-19 drugs. The federal government is bankrolling research, sponsoring clinical trials, and eliminating all liability for drug corporations investing in COVID-19 drugs, and the pandemic’s global impact guarantees billions of buyers. Instead, Congress should invest in and incentivize research to prevent and prepare for future infectious disease outbreaks.
- Lower drug prices now. The COVID-19 pandemic has only worsened the drug pricing crisis in the United States. Alongside soaring unemployment numbers, 27 million Americans could lose employer-based health insurance, exposing many of them to high list prices. Congress must take long-awaited action on drug prices immediately.
Patients For Affordable Drugs Now is an independent, bipartisan patient organization focused on policies to lower drug prices. P4ADNow does not accept funding from any organizations that profit from the development or distribution of prescription drugs.
Read the letter here.