CALIFORNIA — In response to yesterday’s reporting that Rep. Scott Peters (CA-52) is among a group of Democrats pressuring Congress to weaken or abandon Medicare negotiation provisions in the reconciliation package, the following statement was issued by David Mitchell, a cancer patient and founder of Patients For Affordable Drugs Now:
“Americans are paying almost four times what other nations pay for brand-name drugs. But instead of supporting legislation that would let Medicare negotiate lower drug prices for Americans, Rep. Peters is pushing a substitute that would exempt the most expensive drugs from negotiation and leave drug companies with the power to continue dictating prices for brand-name drugs. The proposed alternate bill supported by Rep. Peters is a sellout to Big Pharma that renders Medicare negotiation meaningless and fails to deliver on Democrats’ promise to help patients by lowering drug prices.
“To be clear, effective Medicare negotiation legislation must allow negotiation for all drugs under both Parts B and D as well as drugs still in their period of exclusivity. Rep. Peters’ proposal is masquerading as Medicare negotiation and would maintain the status quo, leaving patients paying by far the highest prices in the world for their prescription drugs.
“Medicare negotiation is the most popular priority of the Build Back Better plan and 90 percent of voters in Rep. Peters’ district want Congress to pass Medicare negotiation. If this alternative proposal moves forward, voters will remember that when given the choice, Rep. Peters chose to carry Big Pharma’s water instead of acting on behalf of his constituents’ needs.”
CALIFORNIA — Patients For Affordable Drugs Now launched new ads today urging Reps. Scott Peters (CA-52) and Lou Correa (CA-46) to vote for passage of strong Medicare negotiation legislation in the Build Back Better Act. The campaign includes TV and digital ads featuring patient advocate Kris Garcia, who lives with multiple bleeding disorders including hemophilia. It also includes grassroots advocacy, in which patients will write and call their members of Congress directly asking them to pass the Build Back Better Act, including legislation to lower drug prices for patients.
“Each infusion of medicine that I need to live costs nearly $40,000. But without it, a minor accident can become a medical crisis for me and a financial crisis for my family,” Kris, a father of three based in Denver, explains in the ads. “For millions of Americans like me, this isn’t about politics — this is about life and death.”
In 2019, Rep. Peters (CA-52) touted his support for H.R. 3, a comprehensive bill that allows Medicare to negotiate lower prices. But after receiving over $239,000 in contributions from the pharmaceutical and health products industry, he flip-flopped to oppose the bill, even threatening to derail his party’s budget bill if it includes the legislation. Last month, he voted against inclusion of legislation to allow Medicare to negotiate lower drug prices in the Build Back Better Act. Watch the CA-52 ad here.
“Scott Peters is standing with Big Pharma and against the will of voters, opposing a plan to lower drug prices,” the ad in CA-52 says. “Tell Representative Peters to fight for patients and vote for the Build Back Better Act.”
Rep. Correa (CA-46) voted for the drug pricing measure H.R. 3 in 2019. This year, however, Rep. Correa joined Rep. Peters in introducing a rival drug pricing bill that fails to empower negotiation in Medicare Part D, which accounts for 83 percent of Medicare drug spending, excludes most expensive Part B drugs from negotiation, and has a much higher out-of-pocket cap. He also signed a letter led by Rep. Peters voicing concerns about partisan drug pricing reforms in May and enjoys a close relationship with pharma-allied groups opposed to negotiation. Watch the CA-46 ad here.
“Lou Correa has the chance to fight for Californians by letting Medicare negotiate lower drug prices,” the ad in CA-46 says. “Tell Representative Correa to stand with patients against Big Pharma and vote yes on the Build Back Better Act.”
“91 percent of Californians support allowing Medicare to negotiate lower drug prices, and 75 percent of voters think drug prices are unreasonable,” 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. “It is imperative that Reps. Peters and Correa seize this moment and deliver on promises to allow Medicare to negotiate lower drug prices for Americans — instead of supporting a weak and ineffective substitute masquerading as negotiation and designed to protect Big Pharma.”
Below are digital ads also running in each district:
P4ADNow also launched ads today urging Reps. Stephanie Murphy (FL-07), Josh Gottheimer (NJ-05), and Kathleen Rice (NY-04) to pass strong Medicare negotiation legislation in the Build Back Better Act. These ads come on the heels of P4ADNow’s Arizona ad launch and are running simultaneously with two nationalads that combat Big Pharma’s lies and scare tactics. These ads are part of a seven-figure campaign that includes digital ads running across a variety of websites and news outlets and congressional outreach, where patient advocates are contacting their members of Congress to demand passage of legislation to allow Medicare to negotiate. P4ADNow’s recent ads can be found here.
On Capitol Hill, Senate and House leadership along with President Biden are working to craft a reconciliation package that includes legislation to let Medicare negotiate and has the support of all Democratic members of Congress. The current House version of the package includes H.R. 3, a comprehensive bill that allows Medicare to negotiate lower prices, which recently advanced out of the Ways and Means Committee.
CALIFORNIA — Nearly 40 labor, business, consumer, and health care organizations sent a letter this week calling on Congress to pass legislation to allow Medicare to negotiate lower drug prices. The letter praises H.R. 3, the House bill that would allow Medicare to negotiate drug prices, as well as Senate Finance Committee Chairman Ron Wyden’s recent guiding principles for drug pricing reform, which are expected to be considered for inclusion in the Democrats’ reconciliation budget package later this year.
“We hope Rep. Peters recognizes that major labor, business, consumer, and health care groups in this nation all agree that Medicare must have the ability to negotiate lower drug prices for Americans,” said David Mitchell, a cancer patient and founder of Patients For Affordable Drugs Now. “Nine out of 10Americans support this policy. We are calling on Rep. Peters to stand with patients against Big Pharma’s lobbying machine.”
Rep. Peters refuses to support H.R. 3, a bill that would allow Medicare to negotiate lower drug prices. He touted his support for the bill in 2019 but more recently came out in opposition, threatening to derail his party’s budget bill if it includes the legislation.
Big Pharma has been spreading lies to try to stop drug pricing reform from moving forward — the pharmaceuticals and health products industry spentabout $92 million on lobbying in the first quarter of the year, more than any other industry.
The letter, addressed to Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, Speaker Nancy Pelosi, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, and House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, asks them to:
“This year provides the best opportunity in decades to pass legislation to allow Medicare to negotiate lower drug prices and bring meaningful relief to millions of Americans who struggle to afford their prescription drugs,” Mitchell continued. “As President Biden said, ‘Let’s do it now.’”
Patients For Affordable Drugs Now is one of nearly 40 organizations that signed onto the letter, which was led by Families USA. In an effort to pass legislation to allow Medicare to negotiate, P4ADNow recently launched a campaign calling on Rep. Peters to support policy reform that would bring relief to Californians.
CALIFORNIA — Patients For Affordable Drugs Now launched a campaign calling out Reps. Scott Peters (CA-52) and David Valadao (CA-21) for threatening to block Medicare negotiation bill H.R. 3, and calling on them to support the legislation that would lower drug prices for Californians. The patient advocacy group also extended its campaign thanking Reps. Josh Harder (CA-10) and Mike Levin (CA-49) and urging Reps. Tony Cárdenas (CA-29) and Lou Correa (CA-46) to support H.R. 3. The campaigns include TV ads, digital ads, and grassroots advocacy, in which patients will write and call their members of Congress directly asking them to support plans to allow Medicare to negotiate lower drug prices — a policy supported by 90 percent of Americans.
“Reps. Peters and Valadao have a choice — they can continue to do the bidding of Big Pharma, or they can stand with California patients by supporting Medicare negotiation and H.R. 3,” said David Mitchell, a cancer patient and founder of Patients For Affordable Drugs Now. “Instead, they are currently attempting to block legislation that could save the lives of 94,000 Americanseach year. As Therese Ball, a multiple sclerosis patient, says in the ad, ‘It’s unforgivable.’ Reps. Peters and Valadao can still do the right thing and stand up to Big Pharma by endorsing H.R. 3, which will deliver the innovation we need at prices we can afford.”
Reps. Peters and Valadao have both refused to support H.R. 3, a bill that would allow Medicare to negotiate lower drug prices. Rep. Peters touted his support for the bill in 2019 but more recently has come out in opposition, even threatening to derail his party’s budget bill if it includes the legislation. Rep. Valadao has taken over $100,000 from pharmaceutical manufacturers over his years in Congress and refuses to take any stance on drug pricing policy, including H.R. 3.
“Rep. Peters supported H.R. 3 before receiving over $239,000 in contributions from the pharmaceutical and health products industry. Now he opposes H.R. 3; voters can draw their own conclusions about his motivations,” Mitchell said.
The campaign kicks off with videoads featuring multiple sclerosis patient and registered nurse Therese Ball from Ogden Dunes, Indiana. To manage her symptoms, Ball is prescribed Tysabri, which is priced at $7,463 each month.
“As a nurse, I had patients who struggled to pay for their prescription drugs. When I was diagnosed with MS, I became one, too. The medications I need to live are priced at over $7,000 a month,” Ball, a grandmother and retired nurse, says in the video ads. “Members of Congress are choosing Big Pharma over patients. It’s unforgivable.”
P4ADNow launched its first campaign directed towards the 117th Congress on May 20. The national campaign had a seven-figure budget and called for support of H.R. 3 in 42 House districts across 22 states and in D.C. It expandedlast week, adding two more House districts. The campaign is, in part, a counterweight to Big Pharma’s attack ads loaded with lies about H.R. 3 and includes video ads, digital ads, and grassroots advocacy.
H.R. 3, the Elijah E. Cummings Lower Drug Costs Now Act, was reintroducedin the House of Representatives in April. The chamber passed the bill in the 116th Congress. It will lower prices, rein in price gouging, and reduce out-of-pocket costs by restoring balance to the U.S. drug pricing system to ensure both innovation and affordability.
CALIFORNIA — Patients For Affordable Drugs Now kicks off a campaign today thanking Reps. Josh Harder (CA-10) and Mike Levin (CA-49) for supporting Medicare negotiation, and calling on Reps. Tony Cárdenas (CA-29), Lou Correa (CA-46), Scott Peters (CA-52), and Sara Jacobs (CA-53) to support swift passage of H.R. 3, the Elijah E. Cummings Lower Drug Costs Now Act, a package of drug pricing reforms that includes allowing Medicare to negotiate lower prices for Californians. The campaign includes digital ads as well as grassroots advocacy for constituents to contact the members in support of H.R. 3. The campaign comes after Big Pharma launched ads loaded with lies, attacking members for supporting the bill.
“Californians need Reps. Cárdenas, Correa, Peters, and Jacobs to follow Reps. Harder and Levin’s lead and push for passage of H.R. 3 to ensure we get affordable medicines we need now and innovation for the future,” said David Mitchell, a cancer patient and founder of Patients For Affordable Drugs Now. “The choice is clear: You either stand with patients for lower prices or with pharma for higher prices. We need lower drug prices now.”
Digital ads will run in CA-10 and CA-49 thanking Reps. Harder and Levin for supporting Medicare negotiation. Digital ads will run in CA-29, CA-46, CA-52, and CA-53, urging Reps. Cárdenas, Correa, Peters, and Jacobs to stand with patients and push for passage of H.R. 3.
H.R. 3 was recently reintroduced in the House of Representatives. The chamber passed the bill in the 116th Congress. H.R. 3 is a comprehensive bill that will lower prices, rein in price gouging, and reduce out-of-pocket costs by restoring balance to the U.S. drug pricing system to ensure both innovation and affordability.
The campaign is part of Patients For Affordable Drugs Now’s seven-figure national campaign launching simultaneously in 42 House districts across 22 states and in D.C.
SACRAMENTO, Calif. — Patients applauded California Governor Gavin Newsom today after he signed a first-in-the-nation law that will stop Big Pharma from cutting deals that block less-expensive generic drugs for state residents — a tactic that limits patient choice and costs taxpayers billions each year.
“Californians are done with Big Pharma’s shadowy pay-for-delay deals that block cheaper generic drugs,” said David Mitchell, a cancer patient and the founder of Patients For Affordable Drugs Now. “We are so glad Governor Gavin Newsom and the state assembly heard patient voices and turned AB 824 into law. We hope state legislatures across the country next year take up California’s pioneering approach to stop deals that hurt patients, and we applaud the efforts of Assemblymember Jim Wood and Attorney General Xavier Becerra for spearheading the successful effort.”
Leading up to the law’s passage, Californians wrote hundreds of letters in support of Assembly Bill 824.
Campaigner Cynthia Stockton, 73, a Sacramento retiree who lives with a seizure disorder, a brain tumor, and is a paraplegic, has been forced to ration food to pay for her medicine. Stockton advocated for Californians by supporting AB824 on social media and in a Sacramento Bee op-ed and editorial.
“They (pharma) just pay the companies off and keep these big-dollar prescriptions going so that generics are not made available,” she told the Bee. “And that made me mad because it’s like mafia control…so I started speaking up.”
In support of the measure, Patients For Affordable Drugs Now, a Washington, DC-based patient advocacy organization that takes no money from the pharmaceutical industry, ran a 5-figure campaign, including digital ads to give Californians tools to contact their representatives in support of the legislation through letter writing and phone campaigns.
The new law will:
My name is John Lindemulder and I am a 67-year-old retiree resident of Diamond Bar, California. Los Angeles County is my home; I was born and raised here and I worked to benefit the state for many years.
I was enjoying retirement with my wife up until October 2017, when I received a diagnosis that changed my life. My doctor told me that I had leukemia.
I had been quite healthy up until I received this diagnosis, and it was a great shock to both my family and my finances. But my altered state of health was not the only difficulty I began to face at this time. I also began to be greatly affected by the cost of my chemotherapy and other medications.
I have Humana insurance, but when I first went to pick up my medication, I was shocked at both the cost of the drug and my copay. My insurance was paying out about $1,000 for a month’s supply, and I was paying a $100 copay for each medication. I was stunned. There was no way I would be able to afford this — it was out of the question.
I was forced to look for alternatives, and I found City of Hope, which referred me to a pharmacy that allows me to make payments. I currently owe $1,500 in copays to the pharmacy. I make payments for my medications of $100 a month currently. My life and my budget has been greatly affected; it is really making things tough. I’ve been rationing my medicine and taking less than I should.
I am in disbelief that this is my situation. I want to enjoy my retirement and do things I love, like reading classic literature and spending time with my wife. Instead, I am consumed with worry about our financial health.
Patients like me deserve better. Californians deserve better. I urge my legislators to fight for lower drug prices.
My name is Janice and I am a 62-year-old mother from Concord, California. I love my family dearly. They are my best friends and I hope to God that they will all take care of each other when I’m gone.
But a number of medical conditions have wracked my family — particularly the disease of addiction. Unfortunately, my son deals with substance use disorder. This is a horrible illness that affects him enormously. However, he decided to get sober a while back.
There is a program through the county that gives him rehabilitation and allows him to see other people going through the same difficulties. They also prescribed a medication that would help ease him off of opiates, and that would make recovery much more likely.
I am lucky to have Medicare. But my son needed medicine and I paid for it out-of-pocket until he become eligible for Medi-Cal. The Suboxone cost over $60 a week, even with a discount. I took out a loan in order to help pay for the medication, and over time I’ve taken out over $1,000 in loans to help him.
He’s now covered under Medi-Cal and he receives the medication at a much lower cost, but we both maintain that it is wrong and cruel to price a lifesaving drug like Suboxone at $60 a week. Many people can’t afford that. Patients like my son deserve better. I’m still paying off loans that I took out, and I’m still shocked that I had to take out those loans in order for him to get the medication he needed.
I am raising my voice and sharing my story because Californians deserve better. They deserve easier access to medications, and AB 824 would be a great start that would benefit so many people affected by the high cost of medications.