Welcome to the Week in Review.
1. Voters Are Watching
- Rep. Kurt Schrader’s loss in his primary election sends a clear message to Congress: Voters want effective action to lower drug prices. “It is a wake-up call across the country on the importance of taking steps to hold down the cost of medicine,” said Senate Finance Committee Chairman Ron Wyden. Senator Manchin confirmed that he and Leader Schumer are in conversation about moving forward a reconciliation package centering around drug pricing reforms. Americans are clear: Congress must pass drug pricing legislation now to lower costs for patients and taxpayers. Voters are watching. — (The Washington Post, Axios)
2. Americans United: Drug Pricing Reform Now
- In publications across the nation, policy researchers, patients, advocates, and community members urged Congress to tackle the high list prices of drugs and allow Medicare negotiation. An article from the Center for American Progress explains how drug pricing reforms will help improve women’s health and economic security, and an AARP state director highlights the historic opportunity before the Senate now to help patients. “I ration my medications. … It is a harrowing tightrope walk,” shares Chicago patient Maria Pollock. “Ending the pharmaceutical industry’s monopoly control over drug pricing is beyond overdue,” says Floridian Maureen Burke. “We need Congress to urgently pass a reconciliation package with comprehensive drug pricing reforms to lower drug prices now,” writes Washington patient Lori Stefano.— (Center for American Progress, Chicago Tribune, Milwaukee Community Journal, The Palm Beach Post, Charleston Gazette-Mail, The Columbus Dispatch, Tulsa World, The Greenfield Recorder, WESH, The Olympian, The Cape Gazette, Reno Gazette Journal, New Hampshire Union Leader)
3. More Bad Behavior
- Big Pharma continued to make headlines this week for its unethical practices to extract maximum profits from patients and taxpayers. Drug giant AbbVie is facing a lawsuit for violating anti-kickback laws by providing doctors who prescribed its blockbuster drug Humira with registered nurses acting in the best interest of the company, and a class-action suit alleges that GSK blocked generics from entering the market for decades by shifting patients onto reformulations of inhalers with the same active ingredients. A new Oxfam report also describes how taxpayer-funded COVID-19 vaccines have brought in massive profits for drug companies and minted new billionaires in the process. Over and over again, the drug industry has shown it can’t be trusted to do the right thing — and why government reforms are necessary to protect patients from the abuses of Big Pharma. — (FiercePharma, FiercePharma, United Press International)
One more thing: As the Senate works on a reconciliation bill with drug pricing reforms, states are moving ahead to protect their residents from high prices. Maryland’s prescription drug affordability board — the first of its kind in the nation — began its work to establish upper payment limits this week, and a New Jersey bill to establish a drug affordability board passed a critical committee vote in the state Assembly. Thank you to all state lawmakers fighting for patients!
Have a great weekend, everyone!