It’s madness that drug prices are still so high, but if a #15 can beat a #2, then we can beat pharma and lower drug prices for Americans.
Welcome to the Week in Review.
1. “A Clear Path Forward”
- On Wednesday, the Senate Finance Committee’s hearing on high drug prices further underscored the urgent need for drug pricing reform. During the hearing, senators explained how the House-passed reforms in the Build Back Better Act — which the drug lobby has spent tens of millions of dollars opposing — will help lower prices for patients. “There is just no substitute — none — for the number one reform, which is allowing Medicare to negotiate like any other payer,” said Chairman Wyden. “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,” added Senator Carper. Let’s get it done. — (P4ADNow)
2. Letters For Lower Drugs
- In letters and op-eds this week, a patient, a constituent, and employers urged Congress to act quickly to lower drug prices. “As a senior living on a fixed income, I’ve had to choose between filling my Humira prescription or buying groceries. That’s a decision no one should have to make,” writes Katherine Pepper, a Washington patient who lives with an autoimmune disease. “Rising prices have been a constant problem as drug corporations have relentlessly raised prices, often higher than inflation rates, for well over a decade,” explains Virginian Dilcia Molina. “The time is long overdue for Congress to act on drug prices.” — (The Seattle Times, The Free Lance-Star, The Hill)
3. Stop Pharma Profiteering Now
- A piece in The Philadelphia Inquirer lays out how drug companies and their executives have raked in massive profits from taxpayer-funded COVID-19 vaccines and treatments. “Make no mistake: The effort by drug companies was hugely profitable, because the government paid for the research, removed all the risk factors and committed billions to pre-approval purchases,” author Daniel Hoffman explains. — (The Philadelphia Inquirer, CNBC, FiercePharma)
4. The High Price Of Cancer Care
- A new survey from the American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network reveals that 51 percent of cancer patients and survivors have taken on debt to pay for their care, and 65 percent say they are worried about the costs of their prescription drugs. Cancer medications are among the most expensive drugs on the market — it’s more clear evidence that high prices are hurting patients. Americans deserve better. — (Axios)
5. Patient Spotlight ?
- Virginia patient advocate Kat Schroeder, who lives with type 1 diabetes, was interviewed by Spectrum News on why patients need Congress to pass drug pricing reforms now. “This is my lifeline,” Kat said about her insulin, which costs about $3,300 for a three-month supply. “If I run out of insulin, I’m dead within a few days.” The drug pricing reforms being considered by the Senate will allow Medicare to negotiate lower drug prices, including for insulin. Kat and millions of other patients are depending on Congress to fulfill their promise. – (Spectrum News)
One more thing: Good news! This week, the New Jersey Senate Health, Human Services, and Senior Citizens Committee voted to advance legislation that would establish a prescription drug affordability board to tackle high drug prices on behalf of New Jersey patients.