Welcome to the Week in Review.
1. “First, Cut The Costs Of Prescription Drugs”
- In his State of the Union address this week, President Biden called on Congress to lower the prices of prescription drugs by passing reforms, including allowing Medicare to negotiate. He listed lowering drug prices as a key part of his plan to lower costs for Americans who are feeling the impact of inflation. Following the address, Senator Manchin offered renewed momentum for passing a reconciliation package by calling for a plan that includes lowering drug prices for Americans. The drug pricing reforms in the House-passed Build Back Better Act are the most popular element of the package, will deliver relief to patients, and have been endorsed by all 50 Democratic senators. With the Senate back in session, the moment is at hand – Congress, it’s time to act. — (CNBC, The Hill)
2. Voters Are Watching
- New polling and analyses on rising drug prices demonstrate why Congress must pass the drug price reforms from the Build Back Better Act. A Morning Consult survey reveals that 9 in 10 voters consider drug prices an important issue leading up to the midterm elections, and 3 in 4 voters say that a failure to pass drug pricing reforms will impact their vote in November. Analyses released this week detail how drug companies have hiked the prices of brand-name drugs, many of which are among the most costly drugs for Medicare and bear price increases above the rate of inflation. One analysis found that if the drug pricing reforms under consideration by the Senate had been in place in 2022, drug companies would already owe more than $150 million in fines to the federal government due to price gouging. We need these reforms so we can finally hold drug companies accountable for their exploitative pricing practices and lower prices for patients and all Americans. We can’t afford to wait any longer. — (Morning Consult, Kaiser Family Foundation, AARP, West Health)
3. Seize This Moment
- Opinion pieces are flooding in about the urgent need for drug pricing reform. Rep. Susan Wild wrote an op-ed this week urging her colleagues to act swiftly to lower drug prices for patients and deliver on their campaign promises. “Democrats have promised for years that we’d hold Big Pharma accountable and lower the price of prescription drugs for Americans,” Rep. Wild writes. “And now we have the opportunity to follow through on that promise.” Community members, advocates, and an editorial board added their voices in support of drug pricing reforms. “There will never be a better time to deliver on their promise of fair drug prices,” writes AARP Pennsylvania state director Bill Johnston-Walsh. “Washington can’t let Big Pharma keep ripping off our seniors.” — (The Hill, Las Vegas Sun, Culpeper Star-Exponent, The Patriot-News, The Journal Inquirer)
One more thing: The non-profit drug company Civica announced a plan to manufacture and sell biosimilars of some of the most widely used insulin products at a fraction of the brand-name prices. This could be a game changer for patients who depend on insulin to live, especially for those who are uninsured.