WASHINGTON, D.C. — The following statement was issued by David Mitchell, a cancer patient and founder of Patients For Affordable Drugs Now, in response to the release today of the Biden administration’s Comprehensive Plan for Addressing High Drug Prices: A Report in Response to the Executive Order on Competition in the American Economy:
“The plan issued today by the Biden administration is bold, comprehensive, and exciting. It will spur innovation and research into new treatments that patients want and need, and ensure that those new medicines are available at prices families and our nation can afford. It will improve the health and financial well-being of patients across the country. We look forward to working with the administration and Congress to implement its recommendations, including enacting legislation this year that will allow Medicare to negotiate lower prices on behalf of Americans.”
WASHINGTON, D.C. — Three patients will share their personal experiences with the high prices of prescription drugs sold by pharmaceutical giant AbbVie today before the House Committee on Oversight and Reform. The patient advocates will share their stories via recorded video during today’s hearing, “Unsustainable Drug Prices (Part III): Testimony from AbbVie CEO Richard Gonzalez,” held by the committee to examine AbbVie’s drug pricing behaviors.
“AbbVie has done everything in its power to keep raising prices on its blockbuster drugs,” said David Mitchell, a cancer patient and founder of Patients For Affordable Drugs Now. “Now Katherine, Jacqueline, and Lynn will tell Congress exactly the harm those high prices have caused to patients like them. It is time pharmaceutical companies including AbbVie are held to account for their abusive behaviors, and reforms are enacted to stop them.”
Watch the patient advocates’ stories at the hearing here starting at 10:00 AM ET today. Below are some highlights of their stories:
AbbVie manufactures the blockbuster drugs Humira and Imbruvica. Humira, which treats many inflammatory conditions, is the world’s top-selling drug. AbbVie has increased the price of Humira 27 times since 2003 to more than $77,000 each year. Imbruvica, which treats cancer, is priced at more than $181,000 per year and has gone up in price nine times since its launch in 2013.
AbbVie has a history of taking out many unnecessary patents on a singular drug in order to maintain market exclusivity longer to keep prices high — Humira is a prime example with 247 patent applications. AbbVie has been granted 88 patents for Imbruvica, which extends its commercial exclusivity to 29 years. It is expected that American patients will spend at least $41 billion on Imbruvica during the extra nine years of its monopoly.
The hearing, “Unsustainable Drug Prices (Part III): Testimony from AbbVie CEO Richard Gonzalez,” chaired by Rep. Carolyn B. Maloney, will examine the pricing and business practices of AbbVie. The hearing begins today at 10:00 AM ET and can be viewed here. Copies of the patients’ video and written stories are available upon request.
WASHINGTON, D.C. — The following statement was issued today by David Mitchell, a cancer patient and founder of Patients For Affordable Drugs Now, in response to the $4 million ad campaign launched by Big Pharma through the American Action Network, attacking Congress’ plan to lower prescription drug prices for Americans:
“Just as Congress is moving to deliver much-needed relief to patients struggling under the burden of high prescription drug prices, Big Pharma has launched a $4 million dark money campaign loaded with lies to attack H.R. 3. The truth is, H.R. 3 ensures we get affordable medicines we need now and innovation for the future. Patients and 88 percent of Americans support Medicare negotiation.
“No surprise: This is straight out of Big Pharma’s playbook — PhRMA CEO Steve Ubl said himself he will be ‘rolling the tanks … to push back against policy proposals adverse to the industry’s interests.’ PhRMA is turning the tanks on the American people.
“Patients are making their voices heard. We’ll step up our efforts to support members of Congress who stand with patients and stand up against Big Pharma.”
WASHINGTON, D.C. — Patients For Affordable Drugs Now founder David Mitchell will issue an urgent call for passage of H.R. 3 today in testimony before the House Education and Labor Subcommittee on Health, Employment, Labor, and Pensions. Mitchell, who depends on innovation and new drugs to stay alive in the face of an incurable blood cancer, will debunk Big Pharma’s false claims that any limits on its unilateral power to dictate prices on brand-name drugs will kill innovation and new drug development.
“Drugs are too expensive in the U.S. with no justification,” Mitchell will say at the hearing, titled Lower Drug Costs Now: Expanding Access To Affordable Health Care. “When drug makers hike prices each year, they don’t do so because the drug is more valuable. Drug companies raise prices simply because they can.”
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.
“[H.R. 3] is estimated to save the government over $450 billion,” Mitchell will say. “Big Pharma complains that redeploying these savings to address other critical needs is tantamount to using the industry as a piggy bank. But in reality, it’s pharma that’s treated patients and taxpayers as piggy banks for years — raising prices at will to hit profit targets and trigger executive bonuses.”
Mitchell will explain that, contrary to pharmaceutical industry fear-mongering, there is room in the system to reduce drug prices without harming research and development; that taxpayers — not pharma — foot the bill for the high-risk, foundational science behind most valuable new drugs; and that H.R. 3 will not cut back on meaningful innovation or threaten early access to drugs.
“Let’s be clear: Big Pharma is not fighting for the interest of patients,” Mitchell will reiterate, pointing out that PhRMA’s CEO himself says that he is fighting “proposals adverse to the industry’s interests.”
“So you have to choose a side,” Mitchell will tell the committee. “Stand with patients and taxpayers. Or stand with pharma to protect ‘the industry’s interests.’”
WASHINGTON, D.C. — The following statement was issued today by David Mitchell, a cancer patient and the founder of Patients For Affordable Drugs Now, in response to the reintroduction of H.R. 3 The Elijah E. Cummings Lower Drug Costs Now Act:
“H.R. 3 is the comprehensive package of reforms patients need to lower prices of prescription drugs while ensuring continued innovation and new drug development. Too many Americans are struggling to pay almost four times what patients in other wealthy nations pay for the same drugs — forced to choose between spending on bills or food and buying the medications they need. H.R. 3 will provide relief to Americans by allowing Medicare to negotiate directly with drug companies for lower prices and by preventing price gouging.
“On behalf of patients, who overwhelmingly support Medicare negotiation, we are grateful to the leadership and members of the House of Representatives for this critical legislation. This is the reform President Biden and Democrats have promised. This is the time to get it done.”
WASHINGTON, D.C. — The following statement was issued by Sheila McLean, a patient and the executive director of Patients For Affordable Drugs Now, after the Senate Finance Committee’s vote on the confirmation of Xavier Becerra as Secretary of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services:
“We call on Senate Majority Leader Schumer to move quickly to a vote to confirm Xavier Becerra for Secretary of U.S. Health and Human Services in the full Senate. In his confirmation hearings, Xavier Becerra was firm in expressing the Biden administration’s commitment to take on Big Pharma, tackle our broken drug pricing system, and work with Congress on bipartisan reforms that will bring down prescription drug prices for all Americans. We know from our experience working with him in California that he can get the job done.”
WASHINGTON, D.C. — The following statement was issued today by David Mitchell, a cancer patient and the founder of Patients For Affordable Drugs Now:
“Over two days of hearings, Xavier Becerra has reaffirmed his commitment to work with Congress on a bipartisan basis to develop and implement solutions that will lower prescription drug prices. In hearings before the Senate HELP and Finance Committees, Becerra demonstrated his experience and understanding of America’s broken drug pricing system and his commitment to help President Biden deliver on his promise to provide relief to patients.
“On behalf of patients across the country, Patients For Affordable Drugs Now urges the Senate to quickly confirm Xavier Becerra as Secretary of Health and Human Services. We look forward to working with Secretary Becerra in the weeks and months ahead.”
WASHINGTON, D.C. — Health and Human Services Secretary-designate Xavier Becerra reinforced his commitment to swiftly tackle the high price of prescription drugs during his confirmation hearing in front of the Senate HELP committee today. Becerra demonstrated his extensive knowledge and experience taking on our broken drug pricing system, his understanding of tactics for bringing down prices for patients, and the need to spur drug innovation while ensuring taxpayers “get our money’s worth.”
“Today, Xavier Becerra committed to continuing his strong record of taking on Big Pharma and standing with patients against high drug prices,” said David Mitchell, a cancer patient and the founder of Patients For Affordable Drugs Now. “Becerra’s work on drug pricing as attorney general of California and in the House of Representatives demonstrates he has the expertise and experience to achieve comprehensive change to restore balance so Americans get the innovation we need at prices we can afford.”
Watch Becerra here.
“There is unanimity, bipartisan support for tackling the high cost of prescription medication. And I can assure you that that will be one of my priorities, is to deal with it swiftly. I tried to tackle it as the attorney general. I tried to work on that when I was in the House, and I look forward to working with you and members of this body in the future.”
“I think, Senator, we can all agree that the price that we’re paying for some of these prescription drugs is far higher than it should be. All you have to do is travel to another country, whether Canada or another country in the world, to find that we’re paying way more than people in some of these countries are paying. I took on a number of pharmaceutical companies, drug makers, by trying to go behind the curtain of how they reach their pricing. And we were able to prove that there is collusion, at times, going on. There’s a process called “pay-for-delay,” where companies will essentially collude with each other to not have a second company put a generic product on the market to compete with the brand-name product and therefore keeping the price of that brand-name pharmaceutical product high. We were able to succeed in going behind that curtain and trying to undercut that type of antitrust activity.”