Welcome To The Week In Review.
1. Critical Win: Senate HELP Passes Bipartisan Package
- On Thursday, the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP) Committee voted to advance a major package of bipartisan bills to lower drug prices for patients. This legislation would promote transparency, competition, and accountability as well as curb anticompetitive behavior committed by pharmaceutical corporations and Pharmacy Benefit Managers (PBMs). “This package of bills represents a significant step towards restoring accountability to the U.S. drug price system so that it prioritizes patients, rather than the bottom line of the pharma and PBM industries,” P4AD’s Merith Basey remarked. The markup was preceded by a HELP hearing the previous day, where the big three insulin CEOs and the big three Pharmacy Benefit Managers (PBMs) were grilled by senators from both sides of the aisle on high drug prices and industry profits. Charmain Sanders summarized: “If somebody in the real world is watching this hearing, they’ve heard every single person from the drug companies and from the PBMs say, ‘We are working tirelessly to lower the cost of prescription drugs…’ And yet, at the end of the day, 1.3 million Americans are rationing their insulin.” Patients know that both the pharma and the PBM industries are to blame for high drug prices and that both need reform. Senate Majority Leader Schumer, it’s time to bring these bills to the floor for a vote as soon as possible. — (P4ADNow, The Hill, Bloomberg, Vox, The Hill, KFF, Politico, The Gander, Fox8)
2. Pushing Back On Big Pharma Lies
- Big Pharma and its allies are continuing to spread false claims about the Inflation Reduction Act. The House Ways and Means Subcommittee on Health held a hearing to examine “Policies that Inhibit Innovation and Patient Access” – but patients know better than to believe the fearmongering of the industry and its allies. “We can achieve balance to have innovative, safe, and effective drugs at prices all people can afford. The Inflation Reduction Act is an example of policy that takes us in the right direction,” P4ADNow’s David Mitchell submitted in written testimony. At the hearing, Harvard Medical School professor and researcher Aaron Kesselheim explained how taxpayer funded research for the COVID vaccine “almost completely derisk[s] the investment for manufacturers.” And Rep. Lloyd Doggett fiercely set the record straight: “Patients come first. It is their health and livelihood — not drug prices — which must be non negotiable. Unaffordability and inaccessibility are not the unavoidable side effects of innovation.” David Mitchell also pushed back on Big Pharma’s lie that the drug price reforms in the Inflation Reduction Act hurt innovation and economically disadvantage small molecule drugs compared to biologics. “The Inflation Reduction Act actually contains more protections for small-molecule medicines because it narrows the difference in years of protection from Medicare negotiation between biologics and small molecules to 4 years,” he wrote in a letter to the editor. “That’s good news for patients like me who rely on both small-molecule drugs and biologics to stay alive.” — (P4ADNow, Endpoints, NY Daily News)
3. Applauding The Inflation Reduction Act
- Members of Congress continue to spread the word about how the Inflation Reduction Act is helping patients across the county. “If you’re on Medicare, you won’t pay more than $2,000 a year out of pocket for drugs and keep in place that $35 limit on what a dose of insulin costs, because that’s been increased just for profit for corporations, not because it needs to be to cover the cost of production,” Congresswoman Dina Titus said at an event where she received an award for her continuous support for seniors. Senator Debbie Stabenowspoke with AARP this week about the new drug price law: “In the Inflation Reduction Act we did a number of things – one, finally we have given Medicare the authority to negotiate the best price.” She continued, “If the drug company raises the price of medicine faster than inflation, they are going to have to give a rebate back.” Patients in Nevada, Michigan, and across the country will continue to feel relief in drug prices thanks to the new law. — (KSNV ABC4 West Michigan)
Have a great weekend, everyone!