Here’s hoping Congress lowers drug prices before Hilary Duff finishes telling us how she met our father.
Welcome to the Week in Review.
1. Congress: Patients Are Counting On You
- Patients shared their stories through video, social media, and letters to the editor this week to demand that Congress deliver on promises to address high drug prices by passing reforms in the reconciliation package. “We’ve never been closer. Don’t let this moment slip away,” says Jacquie Persson, a Crohn’s disease patient from Iowa, in a video with 10 other patient advocates. “I live paycheck to paycheck and in constant fear of losing my medications,” shares West Virginia patient Ashley Suder, who lives with lupus, in a Twitter takeover. Travis Paulson, a Minnesota patient who lives with type 1 diabetes, and Jay Gironimi, a Connecticut patient who lives with cystic fibrosis, described their experiences with high drug prices in letters to their local publications. “Patients like myself shouldn’t be forced to decide between financial ruin and detrimental health outcomes,” Jay writes. “Congress has a chance to alleviate this fear for countless Americans by passing the drug pricing legislation included in the reconciliation package — we are counting on them to succeed.” — (P4ADNow, Morrison County Record, Connecticut Post)
2. Rising Prices, Disproportionate Impact
- Two new studies this week highlight a trend of rising prescription drug prices and how they exacerbate health disparities. An analysis from the Congressional Budget Office found that the average net price of brand-name drugs in Medicare Part D more than doubled between 2009 and 2018, with annual price increases often surpassing the rate of inflation. High drug prices disproportionately affect vulnerable communities, as Black and Latino seniors, Medicare beneficiaries with chronic health conditions, women, and people with lower incomes are more likely to report difficulties affording their medications, according to a report from the Department of Health and Human Services. As we work towards achieving health equity, we must protect patients from predatory drug pricing. — (Congressional Budget Office, Department of Health and Human Services)
3. The Numbers Are In
- As lawmakers worked to include drug pricing reforms in the reconciliation package in 2021, the drug industry spent record amounts on lobbying, with PhRMA spending over $29 million and BIO spending over $13 million. In addition to its lobbying activities, pharma spent over $1.6 billion on TV ads for just 10 drugs last year. Drug companies claim that any reduction in revenue would force them to cut back on research and development and stifle innovation of new drugs. Clearly, that’s just not true. — (Bloomberg Government, FiercePharma)