Welcome to the Week in Review.
1. “This Has To Be Done”
- As Senator Manchin and Leader Schumer continue to work toward a reconciliation bill, Senator Manchin this week reaffirmed his commitment to passing drug pricing reforms. With the legislative calendar growing shorter, time is running out for Congress to pass legislation to lower drug prices. When members of Congress return from Memorial Day recess, theSenate must move quickly to advance the drug pricing reforms — which would not harm pharmaceutical R&D — already passed by the House of Representatives. “We can’t keep kicking the can down the road,” Senator Manchin said. “If we do nothing else this year — and I think we will do a lot — this has to be done.” Patients couldn’t agree more. — (The Washington Post, The New Yorker, Charleston Gazette-Mail, P4ADNow, Brookings Institution)
2. Momentum For Medicare Negotiation
- President Biden, senators, and constituents all called on Congress to pass Medicare negotiation legislation this week. “We can reduce the price of prescription drugs by giving Medicare the power to negotiate with pharmaceutical companies and capping the cost of insulin,” President Biden writes in an op-ed explaining his plan to lower costs for Americans. At separate events with AARP chapters across the nation, Senators Durbin, Ossoff, and Blumenthal committed to continue fighting for lower drug prices for patients. “We’re out of time — every morning another American wakes up with a chronic disease like I did,” shares Samantha Cooksey Strickland, a multiple sclerosis patient. “Outrageous drug costs shouldn’t make the difference in how their future looks.” — (The Wall Street Journal, AARP Illinois, AARP Georgia, Fox61, Tallahassee Democrat)
3. What Are We Paying For?
- A new analysis found that U.S. cancer mortality rates are similar to those of other wealthy countries even though the United States spends twice as much on cancer care. The researchers partly attribute these high expenditures to Medicare’s inability to negotiate lower prices, the frequent price hikes on cancer drugs, and FDA approval of expensive drugs without clear evidence of clinical benefit. The exorbitant sums that patients and taxpayers pay for cancer care are lining the pockets of drug companies instead of contributing to better health outcomes for Americans. It’s time to fix our broken drug pricing system. — (EurekAlert!, GoozNews)
One more thing: Alongside Public Citizen and 19 other organizations, P4ADNow signed a letter to President Biden on Wednesday urging him to nominate a director of the National Institutes of Health who will prioritize fair prices for taxpayer-funded medications.
Have a great weekend, everyone!