Little Miss Lowering Drug Prices would like to say:
Welcome to the Week in Review.
1. On the Fast Track to Lower Prices
- The path to reconciliation is clearer than ever with Senate Majority Leader Schumer saying that Democrats are moving ahead with a reconciliation package including the popular drug pricing reforms. “This is something we’ve waited for for a very long time and is going to be a major, major accomplishment,” remarked Leader Schumer at a press briefing earlier this week. Senator Klobuchar, a longtime congressional champion for drug pricing reform, held a press conference reiterating the enthusiasm and saying she believes that the Senate will pass drug pricing reform in just a few weeks. The provisions are deeply needed as Americans, on average, pay $1,300 each year for prescription drugs — more than any other country in the world. Big Pharma is waging a “last-ditch” effort to oppose the bills, with biopharma CEOs gathering in D.C. this week and the industry spending over $100 million in lobbying this year alone. The provisions, however, are “enormously popular” with Americans and would provide “a substantial impact” and “tangible benefits” to patients across the country. It’s time for Congress to get it done. (Bloomberg, WaPo, STAT, Protect Our Care, NYT)
2. Big Pharma Raising Prices Once Again
- In the third year of the pandemic and as Americans grapple with record inflation, Big Pharma continues to raise prices and exploit patients, according to a new report from P4AD which examined drug corporations’ most recent price hikes. The pharmaceutical industry has hiked drug prices 1,186 times this year, exceeding the number of price hikes during the same period in 2020 and 2021. P4AD highlights four drugs with price hikes this month, including Benlysta, which now has a monthly price tag of $4,282. “I’ve had to spend my entire paycheck on my medications, and with the price increasing again, I worry about how I’ll make ends meet while still affording my drugs,” shares Ashley Suder, a patient in Morgantown, WV, who takes Benlysta to manage her lupus. The report demonstrates why urgent congressional action is needed to address Big Pharma’s abusive pricing practices and outlines ten reasons why Congress must pass legislation to lower drug prices now. (P4AD, Common Dreams)
3. Pass Popular Drug Price Provisions Now
- This week patients, experts, advocates, seniors, and voters called on Congress to pass a reconciliation package with historic drug price reforms before the August recess. The package of reforms is overwhelmingly popular, and a new poll from AARP finds that voters greatly prefer congressional candidates who want to allow Medicare to negotiate lower prescription drug prices. Protect Our Care, AARP, P4ADNow, the National MS Society, and patients held a press call on Thursday that highlighted the historic nature of the package and how the reforms will deliver real relief to patients. “When I went on Medicare, I could not afford the over $7,000 a year for my MS DMT and had to stop my medication. My decision was based on money, not medicine. The proposals will help me tremendously,” shared Judy Wilson, a multiple sclerosis patient and activist. Americans are clear: The time for change is now. (The Cap Times, Navigator, AARP, P4ADNow)
One more thing: This week the Congressional Budget Office found that the FDA User Fee Reauthorization Act passed by a bipartisan majority of senators on the HELP Committee last month saves $1.4 billion thanks to a series of bipartisan amendments that speed generics to market and promote competition. But last week, HELP Ranking Member Burr introduced an alternative version of the bill that strips the package of the bipartisan drug pricing amendments. The senator is standing with his drug industry allies to keep drug prices high. We are standing with Chairwoman Murray who is fighting to pass a package that includes these critical reforms.
Have a great weekend, everyone!