Roundtable Takes Place As Senate Considers Drug Pricing Reforms In A New Reconciliation Package
WASHINGTON, D.C. — Colorado patient advocates Gail deVore and Kris Garcia will speak at Senator Michael Bennet’s virtual roundtable today at 3:00 PM MT/5:00 PM ET on the urgent need to lower the price of prescription drugs. This event takes place as the Senate considers the drug pricing reforms already passed by the House of Representatives.
“Colorado patients are fortunate that Senator Bennet is a champion in the fight to deliver relief to Coloradans and Americans who are struggling to afford their prescription drugs,” said David Mitchell, a patient with incurable blood cancer whose drugs carry a list price of more than $900,000 per year and founder of Patients For Affordable Drugs Now, ahead of the roundtable. “The drug pricing reforms under consideration by the Senate will help millions of patients by authorizing Medicare to negotiate directly with drug companies, limiting year-to-year price increases, and capping out-of-pocket costs for millions who are on Medicare or are insulin-dependent.”
Kris, a father of three from Denver, lives with bleeding disorders, asthma, and severe allergies and is prescribed many expensive drugs, including EpiPens and Humate-P, which costs $10,000 per vial. “The toll of having a medical condition like this is taxing enough; the financial burden only makes such a situation more stressful,” Kris will say at the roundtable. “The price of these prescriptions has affected many decisions in my life. I had to give up my dream of being a business owner because of how expensive my medications were. … My family and I will keep having to make daily sacrifices in order to make sure I have what I need to survive. … The Senate must pass these measures now to help the millions of patients in the U.S. who struggle to afford their drugs.”
“As someone who has been facing the outrageous price of insulin for decades, I can’t begin to tell you how much real, comprehensive drug pricing reform would mean to me,” Gail, a Denver patient who lives with type 1 diabetes and depends on insulin to survive, will share today. “That’s why I am so grateful that Senator Bennet is fighting to lower drug prices for all patients so we have access to the medications we need at prices we can afford.”
In his State of the Union address last week, President Biden called on Congress to lower the prices of prescription drugs by passing reforms, including allowing Medicare to negotiate. The drug pricing reforms in the House-passed Build Back Better Act are the most popular element of the package, will deliver relief to patients, and have been endorsed by all 50 Democratic senators.
Senator Bennet, Gail, and Kris will be joined by other Colorado patients and spokespeople from AARP Colorado and Colorado Consumer Health Initiative at today’s event. Reporters who are interested in attending today’s 3:00 PM MT/5:00 PM ET virtual roundtable should RSVP to [email protected]. Gail, Kris, and P4ADNow staff members are available to speak with press upon request.
“Let’s Let Medicare Negotiate The Price Of Prescription Drugs”
WASHINGTON, D.C. — The following statement was issued by David Mitchell, a cancer patient and founder of Patients For Affordable Drugs Now, following the president’s State of the Union address:
“Tonight, President Biden once again called for legislation to lower prescription drug prices, including Medicare negotiation. For two decades, Americans have been targeted by drug companies that established a system that prevents our government from negotiating on our behalf. It is imperative that the Senate pass a package of reforms that will couple copay and out-of-pocket caps with provisions that drive down prices by empowering Medicare to negotiate lower prices and limiting year-to-year price increases to truly lower costs — not just shift them around. Otherwise, Americans will wind up paying more through higher premiums and taxes.
“With inflation at record levels and Americans facing rising costs, Big Pharma’s price gouging forces Americans to pay almost four times what people in other nations pay for the same brand-name drugs. The drug price reforms from the House-passed Build Back Better package allow Medicare to negotiate lower prices, curb Big Pharma’s price gouging, cap out-of-pocket costs, and deliver long overdue relief to millions of Americans. The reforms have the support of all 50 Democratic senators, offering a clear path to passage through reconciliation. The provisions are the most popular element of the original package, and more than 90 percent of voters list drug pricing reform as a top issue for the midterms.
“It is time for the Senate to advance a reconciliation package with these drug price reforms. Americans need help now.”
WASHINGTON, D.C. — President Biden, Rep. Abigail Spanberger, and Secretary Xavier Becerra today highlighted how the drug pricing reforms in the Build Back Better Act will help millions of Americans afford their medicines. On behalf of patients, David Mitchell, a cancer patient and founder of Patients For Affordable Drugs Now, issued the following statement:
“President Biden, Secretary Becerra, and Rep. Spanberger know that high prescription drug prices affect every American family and are a serious burden for millions each day. Patients are making impossible decisions between filling prescriptions or buying groceries, cutting pills in half or paying rent. Just last month — in spite of healthy and, in some cases, record revenues — Big Pharma raised the prices of nearly 750 medications that patients depend on. Because of the unjustified and unchecked prices of brand-name drug companies, Americans have less money in their pockets to cover other essential everyday expenses.
“Rep. Spanberger knows this issue is ‘top of mind’ for her constituents. President Biden understands how this issue affects American families. The drug pricing reforms in the Build Back Better Act will put a stop to price gouging, lower prices by allowing Medicare to negotiate directly with drug companies, and cap out-of-pocket costs for Medicare beneficiaries and millions of people who depend on insulin.
“President Biden, Democrats in the House, and all 50 Democrats in the Senate support these reforms. It’s past time to get it done.”
Groups Representing Patients, Consumers, Seniors, Unions, Small Businesses, Large Employers, And Physicians And Disease Advocacy Groups Align On Rx Reforms In BBB Act
|WASHINGTON, D.C. — As the Senate considers the terms of a reconfigured reconciliation package, 91 organizations representing patients, consumers, seniors, unions, small businesses, large employers, and physicians and disease advocacy groups sent a letter to all 50 Senate Democrats urging them to take immediate action to advance a reconciliation package that includes the reforms to lower prescription drug prices in the Build Back Better Act. |
“These drug pricing reforms are not controversial for the people of America; they are the most popular element of BBB. Over 80 percent of Americans support them — Democrats, Republicans, and independents alike,” said David Mitchell, a patient with incurable blood cancer whose drugs carry a list price of more than $900,000 per year and founder of Patients For Affordable Drugs Now. “The provisions before the Senate will help restore balance to ensure patients get the innovation they need at prices they can afford. All 50 Senate Democrats support the legislation; this is Congress’ chance to deliver on years of promises. This opportunity won’t come again soon.”
“Millions of AARP members have told us they are sick of Big Pharma ripping them off by charging three times more for medicines in the U.S.,” said Nancy A. LeaMond, Executive Vice President and Chief Advocacy and Engagement Officer at AARP. “Congress has an historic opportunity to finally bring down the price of prescription drugs and help address the impacts of inflation. Voters are watching, and they are tired of waiting for Congress to act.”
Just last week, 40 House Democrats sent a letter to congressional leadership calling on their colleagues to lower drug prices by passing the drug pricing reforms already agreed to in the Build Back Better Act.
The drug price provisions under consideration will, for the first time, authorize Medicare to negotiate prices directly for some of the most expensive prescription medicines, including insulin; institute a hard cap on out-of-pocket drug costs for Medicare beneficiaries and limit copays on insulin for millions of Americans to $35 each month; and limit annual price increases to stop price gouging by drug corporations.
“If Congress lets the pharmaceutical industry overcharge Americans and dictate astronomical prices for brand-name drugs in our country, then patients, workers, employers, and taxpayers will continue to shoulder the burden of prices that are nearly three times what people in other comparable nations pay,” the letter reads. “These reforms are long overdue. We urge swift action. Now is the time to get the job done.”
Read the full letter and list of signers here and below.
|February 7, 2022|
On behalf of more than 90 organizations representing patients, consumers, seniors, unions, small businesses, large employers, physicians, and disease advocacy groups, we urge the Senate to immediately advance a reconciliation package that includes the reforms to lower prescription drug prices agreed to in the Build Back Better Act.
Rising prices are a top concern for American families and employers. Even as we approach the third year of a pandemic, drug companies began the new year by hiking the prices of almost 750 life-saving and life-sustaining medications, undeterred by the financial hardship and health challenges facing Americans today.
If Congress lets the pharmaceutical industry overcharge Americans and dictate astronomical prices for brand-name drugs in our country, then patients, workers, employers, and taxpayers will continue to shoulder the burden of prices that are nearly three times what people in other comparable nations pay. Congress has repeatedly promised to address this problem, and the American people need the help now more than ever.
Right now, you have a time-limited opportunity to deliver relief to millions of Americans by permitting Medicare to negotiate for lower drug prices, capping copays and out-of-pocket costs for beneficiaries, and limiting annual price increases on life-saving and life-sustaining drugs to the rate of inflation for all Americans. More than 80 percent of Americans support these reforms — Democrats, Republicans, and independents alike. They are the most popular element of the Build Back Better Act. In the face of slim margins in the Senate, the current path to pass all of these critical reforms is through reconciliation. These reforms already have the support of all 50 Senate Democrats. Congress can pass these drug pricing reforms in short order and move the nation in a new direction, providing savings to patients, taxpayers, workers, employers, and the federal and state governments.
Enacting the drug price reforms agreed upon in the Build Back Better package will mark a truly historic shift in U.S. drug pricing policy. Not only will it break the pharmaceutical industry’s unilateral power to dictate prices to the American people, it will save lives, improve health, fight inflation, and put more money back into the pockets of American seniors, workers, and businesses.
These reforms are long overdue. We urge swift action. Now is the time to get the job done.
Alliance for Retired Americans
American Academy of Neurology
American Federation of Teachers
American Medical Student Association
Americans for Democratic Action, Southern California
Be a Hero
Blue Shield of California
Centennial State Prosperity
Center for American Progress
Center for Medicare Advocacy
Center for Popular Democracy
Citizen Action of Wisconsin
Colorado Consumer Health Initiative
Communications Workers of America (CWA)
COVID Survivors for Change
Doctors for America
Economic Alliance for Michigan
Florida Alliance for Healthcare Value
Greater Philadelphia Business Coalition on Health
Health Access California
Health Action New Mexico
Health Care For All Massachusetts
Health Care Voices
Health Care Voter
Houston Business Coalition on Health
Initiative for Medicines, Access, & Knowledge (I-MAK)
Insulin For Life
International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers
International Brotherhood of Teamsters
International Union, United Automobile, Aerospace & Agricultural Implement Workers of America (UAW)
Jewish Alliance for Law and Social Action
Justice in Aging
Kentuckiana Health Collaborative
Knowledge Ecology International (KEI)
KS Business Group on Health
Lehigh Valley Business Coalition on Healthcare (LVBCH)
Lower Drug Prices Now (LDPN)
Main Street Alliance
Maine Consumers for Affordable Health Care
Maryland Citizens’ Health Initiative
Massachusetts #insulin4all Chapter
Medicare Rights Center
Metro New York Health Care for All
Midwest Business Group on Health
Montana Association of Health Care Purchasers
National Alliance of Healthcare Purchaser Coalitions
National Committee to Preserve Social Security and Medicare
National Education Association
National Multiple Sclerosis Society
Nevada Business Group on Health
New Jersey Citizen Action
North Carolina Business Group on Health
Patients For Affordable Drugs Now
Pennsylvania Health Access Network
Pittsburgh Business Group on Health
Progressive Democrats of America
Protect Our Care
Purchaser Business Group on Health
Rhode Island Business Group on Health
Salud y Fármacos
Silicon Valley Employers Forum
Social Security Works
Tennessee Health Care Campaign
The Alliance (WI, IL and IA)
UnidosUS Action Fund
United Mine Workers of America
United States of Care
Washington Health Alliance
WellOK – The Northeastern Oklahoma Business Coalition
West Health Institute
The Honorable Joseph R. Biden, Jr., President of the United States
The Honorable Nancy Pelosi, Speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives