On the eve of the Super Bowl, here’s a not-so-fun fact: The revenue Pfizer earned from its vaccine last year is more than DOUBLE the average yearly revenue of every single NFL team COMBINED.
Welcome to the Week in Review.
1. 91 Organizations, 1 Message
- More than 90 groups sent a letter to Senate Democrats this week urging them to advance a reconciliation package that includes the drug pricing reforms in the Build Back Better Act. The signers of the letter include major unions, disease advocacy groups, and organizations representing patients, consumers, seniors, employers, and physicians. “Right now, you have a time-limited opportunity to deliver relief to millions of Americans,” the letter reads. “Congress can pass these drug pricing reforms in short order and move the nation in a new direction.” — (Politico)
2. Congress Can Act Now
- At a Thursday event, President Biden, Rep. Spanberger, and Health and Human Services Secretary Becerra highlighted how the drug pricing provisions in the Build Back Better Act will help lower prescription drug prices for Americans. The president was introduced by middle school student and type 1 diabetes patient Joshua Davis, whose family spends thousands of dollars per year on insulin. Americans are paying more for prescription drugs than people in peer countries, and President Biden and congressional Democrats know that rising costs is a kitchen table issue. The provisions in the Build Back Better Act have the support of the president and all 50 Senate Democrats. It’s time to get it done. — (CNN)
3. Democratic Senators In Agreement
- As the inflation rate continues to rise, Democratic senators know that lowering drug prices will help deliver immediate financial relief to Americans. “The best antidote you can do here in the Senate from the standpoint of fighting inflation is really … Number one, cutting costs, which is what I’m all about with the prescription drug bill,” says Senate Finance Committee Chairman Wyden. “One of the things I’d like to see, and the things that should’ve happened already, is prescription drug negotiations, lowering health care costs and prescription drug costs for families,” says Senator Cortez-Masto. “It should’ve been done already.” We couldn’t agree more. — (Punchbowl News)
4. High Prices Harm Patients Everywhere
- Patient advocates and community leaders described the impact of high drug prices on patients and the need for Congress to pass drug pricing reforms. Marcus LaCour shared his story of living with type 1 diabetes and being forced to ration his insulin due to high prices with several media outlets this week. State and local elected officials urged Congress to act immediately to lower prices for patients. “Congress can help right now to address these high drug prices by allowing Medicare to negotiate the price of prescription drugs on behalf of patients,” writes West Virginia state legislator Chad Lovejoy. Jeff Grayzel, a former New Jersey mayor who spent 13 years working for a drug company, explains, “The truth is, drug pricing reforms will lower drug prices, increase access to medication, and give millions of Americans the financial relief they desperately need.” — (Ohio Capital Journal, News 5 Cleveland, Charleston Gazette-Mail, TAPintoBordentown, The Kingstree News, Bay to Bay News)
5. States Continue Drug Pricing Momentum
- In state legislatures, lawmakers worked to protect patients from high drug prices. The Massachusetts state Senate passed a bill that would allow the state to review unreasonable prices, develop programs to make expensive drugs more affordable, and limit out-of-pocket costs for certain medications, including insulin. In New Jersey, state senator Troy Singleton wrote an op-ed urging his colleagues to advance a bill that would establish a prescription drug affordability board in the state. We’re thankful for all state legislators who are champions of drug pricing reform — patients are counting on you to keep fighting. — (MassLive, Star-Ledger)