The Week in Review in Prescription Drug Pricing
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Welcome to the Week in Review.
1. A New Era For Drug Prices
- The day we’ve all been waiting for arrived! Yesterday, Congress made history by passing the historic drug price provisions in the Inflation Reduction Act that will lower prescription drug prices and out-of-pocket costs for millions of Americans. “With this legislation, we have changed the trajectory of drug pricing policy in the United States,” said P4ADNow founder David Mitchell. “We have finally begun to break the power of multinational drug corporations to dictate prices of brand-name drugs to the American people.” We are so grateful to our patient community for their tireless work, and to Democrats for getting this legislation over the finish line. 🎉 — (P4ADNow)
2. A Payoff for Patients
- Patients across the country are heaving a sigh of relief this week as the drug price reforms in the Inflation Reduction Act passed Congress. Over 1.4 million seniors on Medicare will save money with the $2,000 limit on out-of-pocket costs for medications. For MS patient Bob Miller, the out-of-pocket cap will offer “peace of mind” and allow him to go back on Betaseron, a medication to delay the progression of his neurological condition, which he hasn’t taken for 6 years because it costs him more than $10,000 each year. The $35 insulin copay caps for Medicare beneficiaries will be transformative for patients like Bob Parant, a type 1 diabetic from New York, who spoke to NPR about how the new provisionswill dramatically drop his out-of-pocket costs, making a “huge difference” in his life. Since Medicare beneficiaries are often exposed to high out-of-pocket costs that are tied to the list price of drugs, both the Medicare negotiation provision and the policy to curb price hikes will drive downcosts and bring relief. For years, hundreds of thousands of patients have fought for these reforms, and soon they will feel the fruits of their labor. (Time, New York Times, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, NPR, Washington Post)
3. Senators Celebrate Drug Price Reforms
- The three key prescription drug price reforms in the Inflation Reduction Act have more bipartisan support than any of the provisions in the bill with each reform garnering support from over 70 percent of voters. Patients, seniors, and providers know the reforms would be life changing, especially for individuals prescribed the most expensive drugs. Jackie Trapp faces over $10,000 a year in out-of-pocket costs for her cancer and heart medications and told NBC news, “I am likely to leave my husband all alone sooner than I would like, but now I fear of leaving him bankrupt as well.” If Congress follows through on its plan to pass the package by the end of next week, Jackie’s costs would soon be limited to no more than $2,000 each year. AARP Pennsylvania state president wrote, “Big Pharma has been price gouging seniors for too long. This is the Senate’s opportunity to fix the unfair system that’s rigged against Americans.” We couldn’t agree more. — (CBS News, Morning Consult, Deseret News, Missoula Current, NBC News, Union-Sun & Journal, Bradford Era)
4. Pharma: A Sore Loser
- The tables have officially turned. For the first time in decades, “the seemingly unstoppable pharma lobbying force has lost its charm,” and it’s not thrilled. Big Pharma continued to spread lies about the drug legislation all the way up to its passage in the House, and experts continued to shut down the industry’s claims. “No, the Senate-Passed Reconciliation Bill Won’t Strip $300 Billion From Medicare,” headlined Kaiser Health News (KHN) and Politifact. “To the contrary,” writes Paul N. Van de Water of the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities. “The bill will improve Medicare drug benefits by limiting the total amount of cost sharing that a beneficiary will be required to pay in any year.” Regarding PhRMA CEO Ubl’s falsities that the drug pricing scheme is based on “a litany of false promises,” P4ADNow’s Sarah Kaminer Bourland explains, “these reforms finally even the playing field and allow the federal government to come to the table and use its purchasing power.” And Richard Frank of the USC-Schaeffer Initiative debunks Ubl’s letter in an op-ed, saying, “one should not be swayed by a self-serving set of falsehoods, exaggerations, and muddled analyses in considering the advances offered by the act.” P4ADNow’s David Mitchell told KHN, “The idea that taking a small bite out of pharma revenue is going to stop them from creating new drugs is bullshit.” Sorry, Big Pharma, time to face the music: Your unlimited pricing power stops now. — (Fierce Pharma, Common Dreams, Kaiser Health News and Politifact, Common Dreams, The Hill, Kaiser Health News)
5. What’s Next?
- While Democrats in Congress, patients, and advocates won a big victory against Big Pharma with the Inflation Reduction Act, the work to lower drug prices for all Americans continues on. With the establishment of brand new drug pricing programs such as Medicare negotiation, work to ensure strong implementation of the Inflation Reduction Act will be a key focus in the year to come. Efforts to extend the $35 insulin copay cap to all Americans were thwarted by Republicans in the Senate and the requirements of the reconciliation procedure limited the scope of price hike penalties. Now advocates and patients, including P4ADNow, will be turning to fight for new reforms to address high drug prices for all Americans, including families on private insurance like advocate Clayton McCook and his daughter Lily, and the uninsured, like patient Iesha Meza. The force behind the Inflation Reduction Act was the voice of patients and advocates, luckily they aren’t ready to stop anytime soon. — (CNBC, Axios, Washington Examiner, NBC News, Deseret News)
Have a great weekend, everyone!