Welcome to the Week in Review.
1. Senators Celebrate Drug Price Reforms With Patients
- This week, Senators met with constituents in their states — and the drug price reforms in the Inflation Reduction Act were top of mind. Senators Tim Kaine and Tammy Baldwin discussed the benefits of lower negotiated prices for patients on Medicare and the $2,000 cap on out-of-pocket costs in their respective states. At a roundtable led by Senator Jacky Rosen and Centers For Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) Director Meena Seshamani, an outpour of Nevada residents in attendance praised the $35 monthly insulin copay cap as a huge relief to their drug costs. “I was an immediate beneficiary of the drop in insulin rates,” said David Berman, a retired attorney who lives with type 1 diabetes and participated in the roundtable discussion. “We were paying the $70 a month (per dose) and starting at the beginning of the year, $35 a month. That adds up.” In New Mexico, Senator Luján hosted a town hall with health care experts and local advocates who all touted the monthly insulin copay cap as a victory for patients on Medicare. “I am proud to have helped enable Medicare to negotiate the price of drugs,” Senator Baldwin remarked. “Negotiating drugs under Medicare will not only help our seniors but it will help drive down prices for those with private health insurance.” Couldn’t agree more – the Inflation Reduction Act provides the long-awaited relief millions of patients desperately need. — (WTVR, Richmond Times-Dispatch, Office of Senator Tammy Baldwin, The Freeman, Las Vegas Sun, Albuquerque Journal)
2. Medicare Negotiation: A Monumental Step For Patients
- Health care experts and advocates continued to debunk Big Pharma’s weak claims about Medicare negotiation and highlighted the many ways the new program will help patients. P4AD’s Merith Basey sat down with MedCity News at the 2023 HLTH Conference to discuss how the Medicare negotiation program is highly favorable among people living in the U.S. “Recent polls have also shown that it doesn’t matter on which side of the aisle you sit. Over 80% of people in this country believe that Medicare should negotiate.” In a letter to the editor, Dr. Elmore Rigamer explained that U.S taxpayers fund a large share of basic research leading to new drugs. LA Times Columnist Michael Hiltzik penned a piece about how Big Pharma is “whining about having to negotiate with Medicare,” when clearly the industry isn’t strapped for cash: “As the Democratic staff of the House Oversight and Reform Committee reported in December 2021, the largest drug companies spent more on dividends and stock buybacks ($578 billion) than R&D ($522 billion) from 2016 through 2020,” Hiltzik explained. Drug corporations’ efforts to thwart negotiations won’t withstand. Patients have faced the high cost of prescription drugs for too long, and lower negotiated prices are on the way. — (AARP, MedCity News, The Advocate, The Los Angeles Times)
3. Momentum For Reforming Our Patent And Regulatory Systems
- More momentum this week to restore fairness in our patent system and allow competition to lower drug prices for patients. The Center For American Progress (CAP) published a new report that highlights our rigged drug price system and recommends key bipartisan legislation to curb abuses of the patent system by drug companies. The report dives into the different patent abuse tactics — like product hopping, patent thickets, and sham citizen petitions — that Big Pharma takes on to preserve its monopoly pricing power. In an op-ed, Montana Rep. Mike Yakawich further echoed that there are currently bipartisan solutions in Congress to rein in Big Pharma’s aggressive patent abuses. Registered Nurse Jaclyn Clark penned an op-ed that explains how these “perverse and unfair practices” lead to the high prices that Mainers are paying at the pharmacy. Patients deserve access to medications they need at prices they can afford. We urge the Senate to pass bipartisan legislation to advance legislation that curb these abuses of our patent and regulatory system and promote competition to lower drug prices. — (Center For American Progress, Ravalli Republic, Portland Press Herald)
Have a great weekend!