WASHINGTON, D.C. — Patients For Affordable Drugs Now announced the launch of a campaign encouraging members of the Senate Finance Committee to support legislation to lower drug prices by allowing Medicare negotiation. The new six-figure push will begin on July 2 and includes TV ads, digital ads, and grassroots advocacy, in which patients will write and call their senators directly. The Senate campaign addresses Senators Tom Carper (D-DE) and Bob Menendez (D-NJ).
“As the Senate Finance Committee develops detailed legislative proposals built on the excellent principles promulgated by Chairman Wyden, it’s critical for Senators Carper and Menendez to bear in mind that 90 percent of Americans support Medicare negotiation to lower drug prices,” said David Mitchell, a cancer patient and founder of Patients For Affordable Drugs Now. “Patients are depending on these senators to join with other supporters of meaningful reform and insist on strong legislation that will lower drug prices and deliver savings for Medicare beneficiaries and all Americans.”
Senate Finance Committee Chairman Ron Wyden recently released his guiding principles for drug pricing reform. It is expected that the Finance Committee’s bill will be considered for inclusion in the Democrats’ reconciliation budget package later this year.
The campaign includes new video ads featuring multiple sclerosis patient and registered nurse Therese Ball from Ogden Dunes, Indiana. To manage her symptoms, Ball is prescribed Tysabri, which is priced at $7,463 each month.
“As a nurse, I had patients who struggled to pay for their prescription drugs. When I was diagnosed with MS, I became one, too. The medications I need to live are priced at over $7,000 every month,” Ball, a grandmother and retired nurse, says in the video ads. “I can’t afford these prices. I had to ration and skip doses.”
The ads urge each senator to support legislation to allow Medicare to negotiate prices. “Patients need this reform, and we need his support,” the ads say.
This campaign marks the launch of P4ADNow’s outreach to senators in the 117th Congress. It complements the patient advocacy group’s House campaign to support H.R. 3 first launched on May 20 with a seven-figure budget to 42 House districts across 22 states and in D.C, which then expanded to add two more House districts. This campaign is, in part, a counterweight to Big Pharma’s attack ads loaded with lies about H.R. 3 and included video ads, digital ads, and grassroots advocacy.