WASHINGTON, D.C. — In response to recent efforts by sponsors of a drug pricing bill to replace meaningful drug pricing provisions in the Build Back Better plan with features of their own bill, Patients For Affordable Drugs Now sent a letter to all six sponsors outlining why their legislation is not Medicare negotiation, but rather legislation designed to preserve the drug industry’s unfettered ability to keep dictating prices.

“The Reduced Costs And Continued Cures Act is nothing more than a fraud masquerading as negotiation,” David Mitchell, a cancer patient and founder of Patients For Affordable Drugs Now, says in the letter. “In fact, instead of allowing negotiation, the bill blocks negotiation on virtually all prescription drugs and preserves the power of drug companies to dictate monopoly prices. This bill would thwart the will of 90 percent of Americans who want Medicare to negotiate on their behalf.”

The letter examines the bill to reveal how the sponsors have constructed the legislation to preclude negotiation on most of the drugs that are costliest to patients and Medicare, using three criteria: 

1. Prohibiting negotiation on any drugs in Medicare Part D, which covers the majority of drugs and represents the most spending.
2. Prohibiting negotiation on any drugs in their periods of FDA-granted market exclusivity or initial patent exclusivity. 
3. Prohibiting negotiation on drugs once there is a competitor on the market, which typically occurs only after a drug’s period of exclusivity has expired.

Read the full letter below. 

“In order to stand with patients and your constituents, we are calling on you to halt your attempts to incorporate these broad exclusions into the Medicare negotiation provisions in the Build Back Better Act,” Mitchell continues in his letter to the six members. “Stand with patients for strong Medicare negotiation provisions and enforcement mechanisms that will empower negotiation on the costliest drugs taking a toll on patients; this will ensure Americans get the innovation they need at prices they can afford.” 

All six members supported H.R. 3, a comprehensive bill that allows Medicare to negotiate lower prices, in 2019. But this fall, Reps. Peters, Schrader, Rice, and Murphy voted against the provision’s inclusion in the Build Back Better plan. Reps. Correa and Gottheimer have not been faced with a vote on the legislation yet, but all six sponsors signed a letter expressing concern about the comprehensive legislation in addition to signing on to the pharma-backed legislation.  

P4ADNow is currently running an ad urging Democrats to keep their promise and pass real Medicare negotiation that will reduce prices on costly, monopoly brand-name drugs.