Big Pharma’s Lies And Scare Tactics Repeatedly Exposed
WASHINGTON, D.C. — The following statement was issued by David Mitchell, a cancer patient and founder of Patients For Affordable Drugs Now, following the Senate Committee on Finance’s hearing “Prescription Drug Price Inflation: An Urgent Need to Lower Drug Prices in Medicare”:
“Thank you to Chairman Ron Wyden and the Senate Finance Committee for holding today’s hearing on the outrageous prices of prescription drugs in this country. Senators and witnesses alike made the compelling case for passage of the comprehensive drug price reforms now before the Senate. The hearing demonstrated the urgent and overwhelming imperative that Congress pass the reforms, including Medicare negotiation, this year. Without action, we are effectively mandating that Americans continue to pay almost four times what patients in other countries pay for the same brand-name drugs.
“The hearing again highlighted the lengths that Big Pharma will go to spread misinformation and scare patients in order to protect the industry’s unilateral power to dictate prices in this country. Despite record spending on lobbying and dark money campaigns by drug companies who are trying to block the drug pricing reforms, patients know the provisions will allow for the innovation we need at prices we can afford, increase access to drugs, and save lives. Americans are depending on Congress to get it done.”
- During the hearing, senators advocated strongly for passing the comprehensive reforms already passed by the House of Representatives.
- Chairman Ron Wyden reiterated: “There is just no substitute — none — for the number one reform, which is allowing Medicare to negotiate like any other payer. Without negotiation, the job is just not done. For example, setting out-of-pocket caps without negotiation just passes the price on to somebody else, and that’s usually taxpayers. That’s not sustainable and just puts more pressure on Medicare’s finances in the long run.”
- Senator Catherine Cortez Masto said, “It just astounds me that there’s so much fear-mongering going on around here. So really, when I hear ‘government price controls,’ what I’m hearing is that pharmaceutical companies are afraid for the free market to take place and negotiation to take place to lower these costs. ”
- Senator Tom Carper explained: “I see a clear path forward to deliver drug pricing reform for the American people in a way that is balanced and in a way that is fair, and I’m confident that these policies can pass through Congress and be signed into law even today, even today. We can cap the price Americans pay, for example, for insulin at $35 per prescription, we can establish the first-ever out-of-pocket cap for seniors in Medicare Part D, we can institute a price inflation penalty where drug companies would pay a penalty to Medicare for raising prices faster than inflation, and we can allow Medicare to negotiate the lower drug prices.”
- Opponents of the drug pricing reforms under consideration by the Senate repeated pharma’s lies that Medicare negotiation would stifle innovation and reduce patient access to medications. Here’s why these claims are just not true.
- The prescription drug pricing reforms in the House-passed Build Back Better Act would:
- Empower Medicare to negotiate lower prices for the most expensive prescription drugs, including insulin.
- Cap annual out-pocket-costs for Medicare beneficiaries at $2,000 in Part D.
- Implement a copay cap of $35 a month on insulin products for people on commercial or government insurance plans.
- Penalize drug companies for price increases that outpace the rate of inflation.
- President Biden has repeatedly stated his commitment to deliver lower drug prices for Americans. In his State of the Union address this month, the president called on Congress to lower the prices of prescription drugs and allow Medicare to negotiate.
- The drug pricing reforms in the Build Back Better Act have been endorsed by the entire Democratic caucus. Key members continue to emphasize that lowering drug prices will address high and rising costs and are encouraging the caucus to move forward with the comprehensive drug price provisions, including Medicare negotiation.
- Allowing Medicare to negotiate is widely supported by Democrats, Republicans, and independents alike.
- 8 in 10 Americans agree that Medicare should have the power to negotiate with drug companies for lower prices.
- Polls have repeatedly shown that voters believe Medicare negotiation is the top priority in the president’s Build Back Better plan.
- 9 in 10 voters consider drug prices an important issue leading up to the midterm elections. 3 in 4 voters say that a failure to pass drug pricing reforms will impact their vote.