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Welcome to the Week in Review.
1. “It’s Simply Wrong”
- On Friday, President Biden urged Congress to lower costs for families by passing the package of drug pricing reforms that includes Medicare negotiation. Drug pricing reform consistently ranks as one of Americans’ most important priorities, and the package before the Senate now would reset the drug pricing system to make it work better for all Americans. “Today, 1 in 4 Americans who take prescription drugs struggle to afford them. … Many people use over-the-counter drugs instead or cut pills in half because they can’t afford them. There are others who simply don’t fill their prescriptions at all,” President Biden said. “For God’s sake, this is the United States of America. What are we doing? It’s simply wrong.” — (President Biden, HuffPost)
2. We’re Not Buying Big Pharma’s Lies
- This week, P4ADNow set the record straight by debunking five of the drug industry’s lies about innovation, access, COVID-19 vaccines, out-of-pocket costs, and partisan priorities and shed light on the truth about what the drug pricing reforms would mean for patients. “Despite Big Pharma’s record spending on lobbying and dark money campaigns 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, continue funding for COVID-19 vaccine development, and save lives,” says P4ADNow founder David Mitchell. “Americans are depending on Congress to fulfill its promise and pass comprehensive drug pricing reforms now.” — (P4ADNow)
3. “Lives On The Line”
- Patients, seniors, and advocates wrote to their local publications this week explaining why Americans need Congress to pass Medicare negotiation. “I often think of all the things I could have invested in to better my life if not for the financial weight of drug costs holding me down,” shares diabetes patient Kristine Shachinger. “I am fortunate that skipping my medication hasn’t taken my life yet, but many Americans are not as lucky,” writes multiple sclerosis patient Sharon Hendrix. “I urge Congress to support Biden’s plan to lower drug costs. When there are lives on the line, we can’t waste time.” — (The Kansas City Star, Concord Monitor, Daily Montanan, Las Vegas Sun)
4. The Patents Behind Monopoly Prices
- The U.S. patent system must be reformed so that patients are able to get the innovation we need at prices we can afford, writes The New York Times editorial board. As it stands, the broken system allows drug companies to obtain frivolous patents in order to block cheaper competitors from coming to market. From patent reform to Medicare negotiation, there are real steps we can take to prevent and lower pharma’s monopoly prices on behalf of patients across the country. It’s time for substantive action. — (The New York Times)
5. Another Drug Industry Game
- In an op-ed for the Los Angeles Times, author Elisabeth Rosenthal explains how copay assistance programs allow drug manufacturers to profit off patients under the guise of benevolence. Patients rely on these coupons to afford expensive medications while drug companies collect on the astronomical prices charged to the patients’ insurance companies, resulting in increased cost-shifting and rising premiums. It’s another pharma trick to continue exploiting the system while trying to preserve their reputation. Don’t fall for it. — (Los Angeles Times)
One more thing: On Tuesday, April 26, over 70 organizations will join together to launch the campaign “Push For Lower Rx Prices” to call on the Senate to advance a reconciliation package that includes drug pricing reforms by Memorial Day. Please RSVP to [email protected] to attend the press conference.
Have a great weekend, everyone!