Organizations Representing Patients, Consumers, Seniors, Students, Churches, And Disease Advocacy Groups Push For Package Of Bills That Strengthens Market Forces To Lower Prices For All Americans
Patients For Affordable Drugs Now and AARP, along with 60 other organizations sent a letter to Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell urging them to pass bipartisan legislation to reform our patent and regulatory systems to curb unwarranted monopolies and promote competition to lower prescription drug prices for all Americans.
“There is a real opportunity in the Senate to advance a package of bipartisan bills that will increase competition and market forces to lower drug prices,” said Merith Basey, executive director of Patients For Affordable Drugs Now. “Senators on both sides of the aisle have put in far too much work on these bills over several years to let this opportunity be lost. The moment is at hand to enact reforms that voters overwhelmingly support and which will help patients of all ages regardless of whether they get their health care in the private or public sector.”
The letter to Senators Schumer and McConnell, and copied to every member of the Senate, supports a package of six bills — all bipartisan and all relying on competition and market forces to lower drug prices that complement reforms enacted last year under the Inflation Reduction Act.
“For too long, big drug companies have gamed the system to prevent less expensive generic and biosimilar drugs from entering the market. America’s seniors deserve better,” said Nancy LeaMond, AARP Executive Vice President and Chief Advocacy and Engagement Officer. “Now is the time for Congress to pass bipartisan common-sense legislation that will give consumers real choices and lower their drug prices.”
“Critically, almost four out of five voters support such reforms including 75 percent of Republicans, 73 percent of Independents, and 86 percent of Democrats,” the letter reads. “The bills will save taxpayers $2-3 billion over 10 years and lead to lower out-of-pocket costs for millions of Americans.”
Patients like Sue Lee, 81, of Crestwood, Kentucky will be helped by these bills. Sue lives with chronic plaque psoriasis and was forced to endure painful sores because she couldn’t afford the high monthly cost of Humira — which was protected by 165 patents — and had to stop taking the drug.
Read the full letter and list of signers here and below.
[November 1, 2023]
Bipartisan bills to strengthen competition and market forces to lower prescription drug prices have cleared every key Senate committee on strong bipartisan votes, and the undersigned groups that represent patients and advocates urge that they be enacted into law.
Critically, almost four out of five voters support such reforms including 75 percent of Republicans, 73 percent of Independents, and 86 percent of Democrats. The bills will save taxpayers $2-3 billion over 10 years and lead to lower out-of-pocket costs for millions of Americans. We ask you to advance the following bills now:
S. 142 to curb pay-for-delay deals in which brand name drug makers pay would-be generic and biosimilar competitors to keep them from bringing their products to market.
S. 150 to crack down on patent thickets and product-hopping, which are used to build a patent wall around existing brand name drugs and block lower-priced competition.
S. 148 and S. 1067 to stop drug company abuse of citizen petitions before the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) which drug companies use to delay generic and biosimilar market entry.
S. 775 to improve the ability of the FDA to disclose information generic companies need for speedy approval.
S. 79 to establish a task force between the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office and FDA in order to improve each agency’s patent-related activities.
The bipartisan bills now before the Senate would curb anti-competitive practices and ensure the will of Congress for generic and biosimilar competition and market forces to lower prices as intended to lower prices under the Hatch-Waxman framework. Recent academic studies have repeatedly shown the need for these reforms:
- Just six percent of drug patents in infringement suits were for active ingredients or new molecules.
- There has been a 200 percent increase in secondary patent filings by drug companies since 2000.
- Makers of four blockbuster drugs used patent manipulation to earn 56 percent of their overall revenue on those drugs in the years after the end of the initial patent.
- The maker of Revlimid, which cost Medicare more than $5.8 billion in 2021 to treat fewer than 46,000 patients, used legal tactics to thwart development of generic formulations of the drug and then employed pay-for-delay tactics to block competition.
The bills will help people like Sue Lee, 81, of Crestwood, Kentucky who is living with plaque psoriasis and who was forced to endure painful sores because she couldn’t afford the $8,000 a month cost of Humira – which was protected by 165 patents – and had to forgo the drug.
The Congressional Budget Office estimates these bills will collectively save taxpayers between $2-3 billion dollars. They will result in lower out-of-pocket costs for patients and millions of people regardless of insurance status.
With only 26 work days left in this calendar year, we urge the Senate to come together now and address these critical issues to improve the health and financial well-being of people all across the country. Thank you.
Cc: Members of the United States Senate
ACA Consumer Advocacy
Alliance for Retired Americans
American Family Voices
Beta Cell Action
Beta Cell Foundation
Blue Shield of California
Business Leaders for Health Care Transformation
Campaign for a Family Friendly Economy
Campaign for Sustainable Rx Pricing
Center for Health and Democracy
Center for Medicare Advocacy
Dana Investment Advisors
Doctors for America
Foundation for Integrative AIDS Research
Health Care Voices
Housing Works, Inc
Initiative for Medicines, Access & Knowledge
Interfaith Center on Corporate Responsibility
Just Care USA
Labor Campaign for Single Payer
Long Island Center for Independent Living, Inc
Lower Drug Prices Now
Medicare Rights Center
Metro New York Health Care for All
National Committee to Preserve Social Security and Medicare
National Multiple Sclerosis Society
New York State Council of Churches
New York StateWide Senior Action Council, Inc
Northwest Coalition for Responsible Investment
Patients For Affordable Drugs Now
Pennsylvania Health Access Network
Physicians for a National Health Program – NY Metro Chapter
Protect Our Care
Public Interest Patent Law Institute
Rise Up WV
Salud y Fármacos
Seventh Generation Interfaith
Sisters of Charity of Saint Elizabeth
Sisters of St. Francis of Philadelphia
Social Security Works
Socially Responsible Investment Coalition
SPACEs In Action
TAG-Texans Against Gerrymandering
Tennessee Health Care Campaign, Inc
Two Faces of MS
Unity Fellowship of Christ Church – NYC
Universities Allied for Essential Medicines
West Virginia Citizen Action Group
West Virginians for Affordable Health Care