This was our reaction on Wednesday night when President Biden pledged to take action on prescription drug prices.
Welcome to the Week in Review.
- Let’s Do It NOW
- During his address to a joint session of Congress, President Biden clearly reaffirmed his commitment to allowing Medicare to negotiate for lower drug prices. “It won’t just help people on Medicare – it’ll lower prescription drug costs for everyone,” the president said. “It’s within our power to do it. Let’s do it now.” Mr. President, patients are with you. We can make this the year we restore balance to our drug pricing system. — (The Hill)
2. The Moment Has Arrived
- Congressional leaders are following President Biden’s lead by advancing drug pricing legislation and holding hearings in the coming week. Rep. Pallone, chair of the House Energy and Commerce Committee, said passing the legislation is one of his top priorities. Sen. Wyden, chair of the Senate Finance Committee, said he is looking for every opportunity to include Medicare negotiation. Speaker Pelosi said, “We’ve been working on this [policy] for almost a generation. It’s time to do that.” We couldn’t agree more. — (House Energy and Commerce Committee, STAT)
3. Paying Premium Prices
- A government analysis found that the net prices of 20 commonly used prescription drugs are two to four times higher in the United States compared to other wealthy nations. As just one example, an Anoro Ellipta inhaler has a price of $248 in the United States and $76 in Canada. We can’t allow drug companies to keep dictating prices of brand-name drugs in the U.S. while families struggle to afford necessary medications. — (U.S. Government Accountability Office)
4. Near Unanimous Support
- According to a new survey, more than 90 percent of Americans support allowing Medicare to negotiate with drug companies for lower prices, and believe all Americans, no matter where they get their insurance from, should benefit from negotiated prices. There’s no question — there is broad, bipartisan support for government action to rein in high prescription drug prices. It’s clear what we need to do. — (Protect Our Care)
5. Health Equity Requires Lower Drug Prices
- The Colorado state legislature must establish a prescription drug affordability board to help alleviate medication inaccessibility, an issue that disproportionately affects people of color, writes Dr. Sheila Davis in an op-ed. “As a medical professional, I know that taking a step towards reining in drug costs through a prescription drug affordability board is paramount to advancing public health,” Davis writes. “And as a community advocate and concerned citizen, I also know that this policy is a small but important step to advance racial and economic justice and create a better tomorrow for Colorado.” — (Boulder Daily Camera)
Correction: Last week’s edition cited an article that said drug spending in the United States increased $535 billion from 2019 to 2020. We should have said that drug spending grew to $535 billion.