WASHINGTON, D.C. — The following statement was issued by Sheila McLean, a patient and the executive director of Patients For Affordable Drugs Now, after the Senate Finance Committee’s vote on the confirmation of Xavier Becerra as Secretary of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services:
“We call on Senate Majority Leader Schumer to move quickly to a vote to confirm Xavier Becerra for Secretary of U.S. Health and Human Services in the full Senate. In his confirmation hearings, Xavier Becerra was firm in expressing the Biden administration’s commitment to take on Big Pharma, tackle our broken drug pricing system, and work with Congress on bipartisan reforms that will bring down prescription drug prices for all Americans. We know from our experience working with him in California that he can get the job done.”
- In his confirmation hearing in front of the Senate HELP Committee Feb. 23, Becerra confirmed that tackling the high price of prescription drugs would be a top priority for him as Secretary of HHS.
- During his hearing in front of the Senate Finance Committee Feb. 24, Becerra reasserted his commitment, promising to work with Congress on a bipartisan solution for prescription drug pricing.
- As attorney general of California, Xavier Becerra sponsored and helped pass AB 824, which bans collusive pay-for-delay deals and promotes generic drug competition.
- Becerra successfully defended the legislation in court, warding off multiple industry legal challenges.
- Becerra worked with Patients For Affordable Drugs Now to elevatepatient stories in support of the first-in-the-nation legislation.
- Becerra has led multiple coalitions of state attorneys general calling for the regulation of pharmacy benefit managers to increase transparency and improve drug affordability.
- In the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, Becerra urged the federal government to make Gilead’s COVID-19 drug remdesivir more affordable because it was developed using taxpayer funding.
- During his 24 years in the House prior to serving as attorney general, Becerra co-sponsored multiple bills that would allow Medicare to negotiate for lower drug prices.
- As chair of the House Democratic Caucus, Becerra formed a task force “to examine the rising cost of prescription drugs” in 2016.