OREGON — Nearly 40 labor, business, consumer, and health care organizations sent a letter this week calling on Congress to pass legislation to allow Medicare to negotiate lower drug prices. The letter praises H.R. 3, the House bill that would allow Medicare to negotiate drug prices, as well as Senate Finance Committee Chairman Ron Wyden’s recent guiding principles for drug pricing reform, which are expected to be considered for inclusion in the Democrats’ reconciliation budget package later this year.
“We hope Rep. Schrader recognizes that major labor, business, consumer, and health care groups in this nation all agree that Medicare must have the ability to negotiate lower drug prices for Americans,” said David Mitchell, a cancer patient and founder of Patients For Affordable Drugs Now. “Nine out of 10Americans support this policy. We are calling on Rep. Schrader to stand with patients against Big Pharma’s lobbying machine.”
Rep. Schrader has refused to support H.R. 3, a bill that would allow Medicare to negotiate lower drug prices, in this Congress. He originally said he was proud of his vote in support of H.R. 3 in 2019, but since then has raised concerns about the legislation, even suggesting Congress take a less “robust”approach to drug pricing reform, contrary to the wishes of 90 percent of Americans.
Big Pharma has been spreading lies to try to stop drug pricing reform from moving forward — the pharmaceuticals and health products industry spentabout $92 million on lobbying in the first quarter of the year, more than any other industry.
The letter, addressed to Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, Speaker Nancy Pelosi, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, and House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, asks them to:
- Authorize Medicare to negotiate drug prices, especially for high-cost drugs, and allow the Department of Health and Human Services to do so on behalf of all payers.
- The letter calls for negotiated prices to consider key components including: research and development costs, including prior federal support; data on net prices, sales across all markets, and projected revenue; costs of production and distribution; and data on comparative effectiveness.
- Cap price increases on existing drugs to the rate of inflation for all Medicare and private plans.
- Redesign Part D to lower prices and costs for beneficiaries and taxpayers. That includes a reduction in out-of-pocket costs and overall costs, including holding the line on insurance premiums for consumers, regardless of coverage type or insurance status.
“This year provides the best opportunity in decades to pass legislation to allow Medicare to negotiate lower drug prices and bring meaningful relief to millions of Americans who struggle to afford their prescription drugs,” Mitchell continued. “As President Biden said, ‘Let’s do it now.’”
Patients For Affordable Drugs Now is one of nearly 40 organizations that signed onto the letter, which was led by Families USA. In an effort to pass legislation to allow Medicare to negotiate, P4ADNow recently launched a campaign calling on Rep. Schrader to support policy reform that would bring relief to Oregonians.