Latest News | Dec 21, 2019

The Year in Review in Prescription Drug Pricing

Goodbye, 2019. Hello, 2020! Here is a look at the year in review in prescription drug pricing:

1. States Take a Stand

2. Federal Momentum Grows

3. Patient Voices Grow Louder 

4. Pharma Loses Its Edge

5. It’s Not Perfect, But It’s Progress

WASHINGTON, DC — In response to House passage of H.R. 3, the Elijah E. Cummings Lower Drug Costs Now Act, David Mitchell, a cancer patient and the founder of Patients For Affordable Drugs Now, issued the following statement:

“Patients scored a major victory in the fight for lower drug prices today. We applaud the House of Representatives for passing this landmark legislation that will expand Medicare benefits, support innovation, and save America billions of dollars from lower drug prices.

“The House has done its job. Now the Senate must act.”

BACKGROUND

H.R. 3 would:

  ###

WASHINGTON, DC In response to the Congressional Budget Office’s (CBO) score on H.R. 3, the Elijah E. Cummings Lower Drug Costs Now Act, David Mitchell, a cancer patient and the founder of Patients For Affordable Drugs Now, issued the following statement:

“H.R. 3 will help fix our broken system and ensure Americans with private and public insurance get the drugs they need at lower prices.

“CBO confirmed the bill will put $456 billion in savings from lower drug prices to work for taxpayers. America’s seniors will benefit from new dental, hearing, and vision coverage, investments in innovative new drugs, and lower out-of-pocket costs.

“H.R. 3’s investment into the world-class research at the National Institutes of Health will more than offset the prediction of about two new drugs lost per year. As a patient whose life is completely dependent on new drugs, I’m confident innovation is protected under this landmark legislation.

“It’s time to pass H.R. 3.”

 ###

WASHINGTON, DCIn less than 24 hours, more than 1,600 patients from every state signed a petition supporting H.R. 3, landmark legislation to let Medicare negotiate lower drug prices. Patients For Affordable Drugs Now launched the petition this week as the House announced a vote on The Lower Drug Costs Now Act. The petition comes on the heels of television, radio, and digital advertisements in recent months that illustrate the impact of high prescription drug prices on everyday Americans. In addition, patient advocates from across the country have flown to Washington to meet their members of Congress and thousands more have written letters in support of policies to lower drug prices.

“Americans are being being ripped off, and we know Medicare negotiation is a common sense solution to drive down drug prices,” said David Mitchell, a cancer patient and the founder of Patients For Affordable Drugs Now. “Everyone, everywhere is tired of paying two to three times what other developed nations pay for the exact same prescription drugs. It’s time for the leaders in Washington to put aside differences and give the American public a win to lower drug prices.”

H.R. 3 would:

Currently, nearly 1 in 3 Americans report not taking their medicines as prescribed because of the cost. Lower drug prices will mean better adherence to drugs, which will improve health outcomes and extend life expectancy for millions of Americans. That’s likely why nine of 10 Americans from both political parties agree one of Congress’ top priorities should be to lower drug prices.

  ###

WASHINGTON, DC — Ahead of this week’s vote on H.R. 3, landmark legislation that will overhaul America’s rigged drug pricing system, patients from across the country sent a letter to House leaders expressing support for the bill and urging passage. The Lower Drug Costs Now Act would let the government negotiate lower drug prices for Americans, use the savings from negotiation to add hearing, vision, and dental coverage for Medicare beneficiaries, and support innovation by directing billions of dollars to the National Institutes of Health.

“Americans have been waiting for this reform since powerful drug corporations blocked Medicare from negotiating lower prices nearly two decades ago,” said David Mitchell, a cancer patient and the founder of Patients For Affordable Drugs Now in a letter signed by 16 other patient advocates from across the country. “This week, the House can rectify that injustice and put our nation on a road to affordable drug prices and better health.”

The letter is signed by patients with cancer, autoimmune conditions, genetic diseases, and other chronic conditions that require expensive medications. They are covered by Medicare, Medicaid, employer plans, and through the individual marketplace, and require drugs ranging in price from $10,000 to $875,000 per year.

Momentum for the bill continues to grow. Since the bill’s introduction in September, more than 106 Members of Congress have cosponsored the bill, and dozens more supported passage in key House committees.

H.R. 3 would:

The letter to support H.R. 3 follows the launch in October of a multi-million dollar advertising campaign featuring TV, digital, and radio ads to support the passage of H.R. 3, along with drug pricing reforms proposed in the Senate and by the Trump administration. Nine of 10 Americans from both political parties agree one of Congress’ top priorities should be to lower drug prices.

  +++

Dec. 10, 2019

Dear Chairmen Neal, Pallone, and Scott,

We write to express our strong support for H.R. 3 — The Lower Drug Costs Now Act.

As patients with cancer, autoimmune conditions, genetic diseases and other chronic conditions that require expensive medications, we each have a personal stake in this fight. We are covered by Medicare, Medicaid, employer-sponsored insurance, and through the individual marketplace. Our drug prices range from $10,000 to $875,000 per year.

We need this reform. The time for waiting is over.

Our stories demonstrate why 86% of Americans support letting Medicare negotiate directly with drug companies.[1] H.R. 3 heeds this call and takes reforms further by extending lower prices to people who receive drug coverage from private sector insurers as well. H.R. 3 will improve health by ensuring Americans can afford to take drugs as prescribed; it will also improve Medicare beneficiary health by adding dental, vision, and hearing benefits to the program. Importantly, it will support innovation and new drug development by increasing funding for the NIH and FDA.

All of the signers of this letter traveled to Washington D.C. in recent months to meet with our elected officials and demand action to lower drug prices. Today, we urge passage of the Elijah E. Cummings Lower Drug Costs Now Act. If we could make one amendment to the bill, we would request that Congress extend the bill’s provisions to Americans without insurance coverage — who are often faced with the most critical affordability challenges at the pharmacy counter.

Americans have been waiting for this reform since powerful drug corporations blocked Medicare from negotiating lower prices nearly two decades ago. This week, the House can rectify that injustice and put our nation on a road to affordable drug prices and better health.

Signed,

David Mitchell, Bethesda, MD, Multiple Myeloma
Robin Bennett, Grand Island, NE, Type 2 Diabetes
Marta Deike, Lodi, CA, Lambert-Eaton Myasthenic Syndrome
Tiburon Erickson, Taylorsville, UT, Mother of Type 1 Diabetic
Ethan Erickson, Taylorsville, UT, Type 1 Diabetes
Robert Fowler, Ridgeville, OH, Multiple Myeloma
Rose Hernandez, California City, CA, Asthma
Kimberly Ishoy, South Jordan, UT, Type 1 Diabetes
Juliana Keeping, Silver Spring, MD, Mother of Cystic Fibrosis son
Luz Lopez, Phoenix, AZ, Fibromyalgia
Karen Macedon, Sacramento, CA, Type 2 Diabetes
DJ Clayton Martin, Jacksonville, FL, Sickle Cell Disease
Clayton McCook, Oklahoma City, OK, Father of Type 1 Diabetic
Jacquie Persson, Waterloo, IA, Crohn’s Disease
Sam Reid, Washington, D.C., Crohn’s Disease
Lauren Stanford , Washington, D.C., Type 1 Diabetes
Ashley Suder, McMehen, WV, Lupus

  ###


1. Let. Medicare. Negotiate. Already.

2. Let’s Get the Job Done

3. No Upper Limit

4. Survey Says:

5. Transparency in Action!

WASHINGTON, D.C. — In response to votes in the House Energy & Commerce Committee and the House Education & Labor Committee to advance H.R. 3, a bill that would lower drug prices for all insured Americans through negotiations, Ben Wakana, the executive director of Patients For Affordable Drugs Now, issued the following statement:

“A long day of hard work on drug pricing on Capitol Hill produced a good outcome for patients. H.R. 3 cleared two key House committees, and the public heard from a patient and experts during a robust debate in the Ways & Means Committee. Now is the time to press on and advance this bill into law. Patients are waiting, and we are watching.”

BACKGROUND:

  ###

WASHINGTON, D.C. — Lawmakers have a window to make history and lower drug prices, and a new Patients For Affordable Drugs Now campaign will urge Congress and the White House to seize the moment and act now. The multi-million dollar campaign will include TV, digital, and radio ads across the country featuring patients who support proposals in the House and Senate to rein in skyrocketing drug prices. Big Pharma is spending millions to distort, demonize, and relentlessly attack these proposals because the changes could actually break the rigged system that keeps their profits high and patients’ costs skyrocketing.

Watch the videos, “Jackie” and “Gail.”

“Americans are being crushed by high drug prices, and we want to send a message to the White House and Congress: Big Pharma is spreading scare tactics and lies,” said David Mitchell, a cancer patient and the founder of Patients For Affordable Drugs Now. “Legislation to lower drug prices must move now. If lawmakers side with Big Pharma instead of patients, they’ll pay in votes.”

Today’s campaign includes support for the:

As part of the campaign, Patients For Affordable Drugs Now will release television, radio, and digital advertisements that show the toll high prescription drug prices are taking on everyday Americans, offer a suite of tools that encourage Americans to contact their elected officials in support of lowering drug prices, and share stories of patients suffering under prescription drug prices on social media.

The campaign will launch on Thursday with a national cable TV and radio ad. It will expand to local TV, digital, and radio ads in targeted Senate and House districts over the upcoming weeks.

Americans overwhelmingly support action to lower drug prices. Eighty-six percent of Americans — majorities of Democrats, Republicans, and Independents — support allowing Medicare to negotiate. Americans pay twice as much for prescription drugs as other nations, and nearly 1 in 3 adults report not taking their medicines as prescribed due to cost.

Big Pharma is lobbying furiously to protect its profits, but Congress and the White House need to listen to patients.

This campaign comes on the heels of a campaign in August encouraging the Senate to enact the bipartisan Prescription Drug Pricing Reduction Act of 2019. That campaign thanked members for supporting reforms and held accountable those who opposed them.


  ###