Captain America has weighed in — drug prices must be lowered.
Welcome to the Week in Review.
- Dear Congress: Patients Need You To Keep Fighting
- Patients For Affordable Drugs Now launched a national campaign this week urging members of Congress in 42 House districts to support H.R. 3, which would allow Medicare to negotiate lower drug prices. The campaign includes video ads featuring patient Marcus LaCour, who lives with type 1 diabetes. “Because insulin is so expensive, I’ve had to skip and ration my doses,” Marcus says in one ad. “We need Congress to keep their promises, and get the job done now.” The campaign comes as the fight for drug pricing heats up, with Big Pharma doing everything it can to fight against much-needed drug pricing reform. The message from patients is clear: Congress must stand with patients instead of with pharma’s special interests. — (Fox Business, Axios)
2. The Price Of Pharma’s Unilateral Pricing Power
- During a House Oversight and Reform Committee hearing examining pharma giant AbbVie’s unethical pricing practices, three patient advocates shared their experiences with the impact of the company’s high-priced drugs. “The excessive Humira price forces me to choose every month whether to eat or fill my prescriptions,” Katherine Pepper, who is prescribed Humira injections for psoriatic arthritis, told the committee. “You have the power to change that,” Lynn Scarfuto, who lives with cancer and takes Imbruvica, told the members. — (NBC)
3. H.R. 3 Is Good For Business
- A new analysis estimates that Medicare negotiation would save employers $195 billion and workers $61 billion from 2023 to 2029. Nearly 90 percent of small business owners say in a separate poll that drug costs are too high. 85 percent believe Medicare should be allowed to negotiate the prices of costly prescription drugs. H.R. 3 has a broad reach: It will bring patients, employers, and employees relief. — (West Health, Small Business for America’s Future)
4. Patent Abuse Alert
- A report from drug patent watchdog I-MAK delves into Merck’s abusive patent practices on its cancer drug Keytruda, which currently has an annual price of over $165,000. The 53 patents Merck has received on the drug have extended Merck’s monopoly pricing period by an additional eight years. During that time, it’s estimated Americans will spend $137 billion on Keytruda. It’s a prime example of how drug companies weaponize a patent system meant to reward innovation and use it to turn billions in profit. — (I-MAK)
5. Patients Take On State Capitols
- Patients also made their voices heard in state legislatures this week. In Colorado, patient advocate Kris Garcia shared his story in support of a bill that would establish a prescription drug affordability board. “I had to give up my dream of being a business owner because of how expensive my medications were,” Kris said. The bill was passed out of the House Health and Insurance Committee on a 8-4 vote. Oregon patient advocate Joanna Olson, who takes Eliquis, delivered testimony in support of a bill that would ban collusive “pay-for-delay” deals between drug manufacturers. “Every time I pick up the prescription, I think about leaving without the drug,” Joanna shared. — (P4ADNow)