Welcome to the Week in Review.
1. New Poll: Americans Oppose Big Pharma’s Assault On Medicare Negotiation
- On Tuesday, P4ADNow released a new poll that confirms what we already know: Americans overwhelmingly – by more than a 5-to-1 margin – oppose the pharmaceutical industry’s lawsuits attempting to block Medicare from directly negotiating lower prescription drug prices. “The American people understand the lawsuits to block lower drug prices through Medicare negotiation are not about looking after the best interests of patients and consumers,” said P4AD’s David Mitchell. The poll found that drug companies’ argument that the Medicare negotiation law will lead to fewer cures is not believable to voters by a nearly 4-to-1 margin, and voters by a 6-to-1 margin say drug companies are opposing this law over profits, not because it violates the constitution. Moreover, respondents who viewed drug companies unfavorably jumped from half to two thirds upon hearing of the lawsuits and the arguments from both sides. “Efforts in Congress to undermine implementation of the Inflation Reduction Act fly in the face of the wishes of the overwhelming majority of voters,” David continued. “Elected officials who align themselves with this unpopular and greedy industry, against the will of voters, do so at their own political risk.” — (P4ADNow, Common Dreams)
2. Medicare Negotiation Restores Fairness
- We may sound like a broken record, but it’s too important to understate: The Inflation Reduction Act’s provision that empowers Medicare to negotiate lower drug prices will bring savings to millions of patients. The drug industry’s arguments clearly don’t add up — patients have long awaited the relief this new program will bring, after facing huge financial burden from their life-saving medications. P4ADNow’s David Mitchell and patient advocate Steven Hadfield are among the many patients who will benefit from the Medicare negotiation, reported Jamie Smyth in a feature piece in Financial Times (see photo below). The new program balances out pharma’s unfettered pricing power and restores fairness, given that “U.S. consumers [are] footing the development costs of new pharmaceuticals,” wrote Rob Rudick in a Washington Post LTE. Voters have expressed overwhelming support for Medicare negotiation: A new Associated Press/NORC poll found that 76 percent of respondents, across party lines, supported the new law. Seven of the first 10 drugs eligible for negotiation are used to treat cardiovascular and metabolic diseases that affect millions of Americans, according to an analysis published in JAMA. We won’t let up in our fight to ensure that Medicare negotiates lower drug prices for patients who need this relief. — (Endpoints, AARP, Financial Times, The Washington Post, AP/NORC, Truthout, JAMA)
3. The Inflation Reduction Act: A Clear Win For Patients
- Patients, advocates, and experts continue to push for reforms that strengthen our patent and regulatory systems and promote competition to lower drug prices. In an opinion piece, Matt Mackowiak called on Senator Bill Cassidy to “crack down on the anticompetitive practices of Big Pharma to help lower drug prices” and pass bipartisan bills that can address these patent abuses. Carrie Parvin of Alaska also wrote an LTE calling on Senators Lisa Murkowski and Dan Sullivan to support bipartisan legislation that would curb Big Pharma patent abuses and “help usher in more generics and biosimilars to market.” In a new study, the Initiative for Medicines, Access, And Knowledge (I-MAK) highlighted the drug industry’s abuse of our patent system to prolong monopoly pricing power and limit biosimilar competition. The study found that four of the leading biologic drugs that have had competition since 2019 — Humira, Avastin, Rituxan, and Lantus — reaped an astonishing combined $158 billion during their period of patent extension. Patients like Sue Lee have felt the impact of drug companies’ patent abuse that enables them to charge ridiculously high prices. Sue was forced to stop taking Humira entirely when she went on Medicare because her costs jumped due to years of annual price hikes by its maker, AbbVie. The Association for Accessible Medicines (AAM) released a report showing that in 2022, biosimilars and generic drugs saved patients, employers, and taxpayers $408 billion. Patients deserve access to medications they need at prices they can afford – time for the Senate to pass bipartisan legislation that begins to fix our broken patent and regulatory systems. — (The Hayride, Mat-Su Valley Frontiersman, I-MAK, KFF, Real Clear Health, Big Molecule Watch)
Have a great weekend!