Welcome to the Week in Review.
1. The Way Forward Is Clear
- In a major sign of renewed momentum for passing comprehensive drug pricing reform through reconciliation, Senate Democrats are moving to submit a drug pricing framework based on last year’s House-passed provisions to the Senate parliamentarian. If enacted, these historic reforms — which reportedly include Medicare negotiation, penalties on drug companies that raise prices faster than the rate of inflation, and an out-of-pocket cap for Medicare beneficiaries — would bring much-needed relief to patients across the country. “The way forward is clear; the momentum is strong,” said David Mitchell, a cancer patient and founder of P4ADNow. “The Senate must pass the package through reconciliation this summer.” Let’s get the job done. — (The Washington Post, The Hill, P4ADNow, Las Vegas Sun)
2. 8 In 10 Recommend: Medicare Negotiation
- A new poll shows that allowing Medicare to negotiate lower drug prices is overwhelmingly popular among voters of all political stripes, with 8 in 10 saying they support the provision. Americans are sick and tired of sacrificing their financial well-being to pay the high prices of prescription drugs while pharma CEOs take home tens of millions of dollars each year. Voters are sending the message loud and clear: We need Congress to pass Medicare negotiation now. — (Data for Progress, P4AD)
3. Raising Prices Because They Can
- The U.S. government bought 105 million more doses of Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine this week in a deal amounting to $3.2 billion. This time, however, Pfizer is raising prices on the life-saving vaccine — American taxpayers are paying over $30 per dose compared to the price of $19.50 per dose in early contracts. Analysts say the price increases for the government may suggest even higher prices for the vaccine when it enters the commercial market. A reminder: The mRNA vaccine, which has shattered sales records and brought in billions of dollars for Pfizer, is based on technology developed in taxpayer-funded laboratories. In the third year of a pandemic, one thing has remained consistent: Drug companies are more than willing to take advantage of patients and taxpayers to maximize the bottom line. — (Reuters, FiercePharma)
One more thing: Senator Warnock held a Senate Aging Committee field hearing on Friday that focused on lowering drug prices. At the hearing, Georgia patients and advocates shared how their struggle with high drug prices have cost them their financial and mental health. “We were in our golden years,” said retiree Gretchen Spring, “but the only people seeing gold were the pharmaceutical companies.”
Have a great weekend, everyone!