“We Must Deliver On Our Promise To Lower The Amount Of Money Our Constituents Pay For Prescription Drugs”
WASHINGTON, D.C. — As congressional Democrats work to add drug pricing provisions, including Medicare negotiation, into the Build Back Better Act, 15 frontline House Democrats sent a letter yesterday to Speaker Pelosi and Majority Leader Hoyer urging immediate action to address the high price of prescription drugs. Led by Rep. Angie Craig (MN-02), the letter is signed by Reps. Colin Allred (TX-32), Cindy Axne (IA-03), Sharice Davids (KS-03), Josh Harder (CA-10), Steven Horsford (NV-04), Andy Kim (NJ-03), Susie Lee (NV-03), Lucy McBath (GA-06), Tom Malinowski (NJ-07), Chris Pappas (NH-01), Elissa Slotkin (MI-08), Abigail Spanberger (VA-07), Lauren Underwood (IL-14), and Susan Wild (PA-07).

“On behalf of patients all across this country, we want to thank Congresswoman Craig and these members of Congress who are going to the mat fighting to add Medicare negotiation to lower drug prices back into the Build Back Better plan,” David Mitchell, a cancer patient and founder of Patients For Affordable Drugs Now, said in Rep. Craig’s press release. “Medicare negotiation is supported by 90 percent of voters who are depending on Congress to deliver years of promises to provide relief to patients struggling to afford their prescription medications. These members know that the moment for action is now to enact meaningful reforms that will fix a rigged system and restore balance to ensure we get the innovation we need at prices we can afford. The fight is not over, and we are proud to stand with these members.”

Momentum has been building over the weekend to ensure that the most popular provision — allowing Medicare to negotiate lower drug prices — is included in the Build Back Better Act. Congressional leaders have been working to agree on meaningful provisions for the package that would lower prices for patients. Democratic members on both sides of the Capitol have been clear that Medicare negotiation must be included in the final package. Last week, Patients For Affordable Drugs Now and AARP demanded Congress add drug pricing reform into the Build Back Better Act. Patients For Affordable Drugs Now called the lack of its inclusion in the president’s framework “a huge failure” and AARP said it is “outraged” by the exclusion. 

Read the full letter here and below. 
October 31, 2021
The Honorable Nancy Pelosi
U.S. House of Representatives
Washington, D.C., 20515

The Honorable Steny Hoyer
Majority Leader
U.S. House of Representatives
Washington, D.C., 20515

Dear Speaker Pelosi and Majority Leader Hoyer:

Thank you for your leadership and continued efforts to lower the cost of prescription drugs. As majority-makers in competitive districts, we promised our constituents that we would come to Washington to fight on their behalf for lower drug prices. We cannot turn back now on our promise to the American people. We urge you in the strongest terms possible to include legislative language in the Build Back Better Act that will be voted on by the full House to accomplish this.

The pharmaceutical industry has gouged the American public for decades. As a country, we spend hundreds of billions of dollars a year on prescription drugs, and yet our constituents must often choose between purchasing prescribed medications or putting food on the table. It is unacceptable that anyone in the wealthiest country in the world cannot access the medications they need to stay alive.

With two lobbyists per Member of Congress, we know that Big Pharma is deeply invested in the status quo. Our current system forbids Medicare from negotiating the prices it pays for prescription drugs. As a result, millions of Americans are forced to spend thousands of dollars a year on their medications – or go without.

In many cases, as with insulin, these medications have been on the market for decades. In 1991, a bottle of Humalog insulin cost $21. Today the average list price is over $300. That is inexcusable. In these instances, we are not paying for research and development. By allowing the cost of drugs like insulin to rise year after year, we are financing soaring executive salaries, stock buybacks and outrageous profit margins on the backs of our seniors.

With the Build Back Better agenda, we have a perhaps once in a generation opportunity to change the status quo and make good on our promise that no one should have to choose between affording their prescription drugs or food or housing. The public is on our side. Big Pharma is not.

Soon, we must go back to our districts and explain what we’ve done in Washington to make our constituents’ lives better. We ran on upsetting the status quo and lowering out-of-pocket costs for healthcare and prescription drugs. If we fail, we’ll need to explain to them why we let Big Pharma win, why we let entrenched special interests take precedence over the American people.

You have dedicated your careers to lowering the cost of healthcare. We stand with you in your continued efforts. The moment is now. We must deliver on our promise to lower the amount of money our constituents pay for prescription drugs. We must demonstrate that we work for the American people and not the pharmaceutical industry. Our constituents are counting on us.