WASHINGTON, D.C. — Patients For Affordable Drugs Now today launched an ad thanking Rep. Andy Kim (NJ-03) for being a champion in the fight for lower drug prices and for his vote to pass the Build Back Better Act. The ad features a cancer patient named Jackie, whose cancer medication, Revlimid, is priced at over $20,000 every month.
“Millions of people like me are struggling. It’s time for our leaders to lead,” Jackie says in the ad.
The ad responds to Rep. Kim’s vote in favor of the Build Back Better Act, which passed the House of Representatives on Nov. 19. Despite repeatedattacksfrom Big Pharma, Rep. Kim stood strong as a leader in pushing for meaningful drug price reforms to be included in the Build Back Better Act. Following the release of the White House’s Build Back Better framework, which did notinclude any drug price reforms, he signed a letter calling for the inclusion of reforms as an essential element in the legislation. Earlier this year, Rep. Kim also penned an op-ed highlighting the importance of lowering drug prices for Americans.
“On behalf of patients, we thank Rep. Kim for fighting to ensure the inclusion of meaningful drug price reforms in the Build Back Better Act,” 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. “His steadfast support for the drug price provisions in the Build Back Better Act was a key factor in the House passage of the bill that finally allows Medicare to negotiate lower prices. Ninety percent of voters support Medicare negotiation, and the reforms in Build Back Better will help millions of Americans.”
The ad will run as the Senate moves to take up the Build Back Better Act in December. The Build Back Better Act 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 annual price increases to stop price gouging by drug corporations.
“Congressman Kim just voted to pass the Build Back Better Act, which for the first time lets Medicare negotiate lower drug prices for New Jerseyans,” the adrunning on digital platforms says. “He stood up to Big Pharma attacks and did the right thing for patients. Tell Representative Kim: Thank you for voting to lower drug prices for millions of Americans.”
Watch the ad here.
Full transcript of the ad below:
JACKIE: This is a four-week supply of my chemotherapy. It’s 20 pills, and it’s $20,000 every single month. Millions of people like me are struggling. It’s time for our leaders to lead.
VO: Congressman Kim just voted to pass the Build Back Better Act, which for the first time lets Medicare negotiate lower drug prices for New Jerseyans. He stood up to Big Pharma attacks and did the right thing for patients. Tell Representative Kim: Thank you for voting to lower drug prices for millions of Americans.
NEW JERSEY — Patients For Affordable Drugs Now launched a new ad today urging Rep. Josh Gottheimer (NJ-05) 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 ad. “For millions of Americans like me, this isn’t about politics — this is about life and death.”
Rep. Gottheimer (NJ-05) voted for a drug pricing measure to allow Medicare to negotiate lower drug prices in 2019 but is now criticizing the Democrats’ efforts to advance an identical bill as part of reconciliation in the House and is defending the drug industry. He also signed onto a rival drug pricing bill this year 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.
Watch the NJ-05 ad here.
“Josh Gottheimer has a chance to fight for New Jerseyans by letting Medicare negotiate lower drug prices,” the ad in NJ-05 says. “Tell Representative Gottheimer to stand with patients and vote yes on the Build Back Better Act.”
Below is a digital ad also running in the district:
“90 percent of New Jerseyans in Rep. Gottheimer’s district support allowing Medicare to negotiate lower drug prices, and 79 percent 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 Rep. Gottheimer seize this moment and deliver on promises to allow Medicare to negotiate lower drug prices for Americans.”
P4ADNow also launched ads today urging Reps. Lou Correa (CA-46), Scott Peters (CA-52), Stephanie Murphy (FL-07), 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.
NEW JERSEY — As Congress works on a budget plan that includes giving Medicare the power to negotiate lower prescription drug prices, a new project shows the overwhelming, bipartisan support for this reform across New Jersey.
The findings are part of a new website and interactive map showing support for district-by-district and state-by-state data. New Jersey lawmakers and constituents can now find the level of backing for Medicare negotiation, opinions about pharmaceutical companies, concerns about Congress failing to act, and belief in pharma’s top arguments. The project was conducted by Data for Progress on behalf of Protect Our Care and Patients For Affordable Drugs Now.
The model shows that:
The New Jersey data were determined using a large national sample of more than 4,000 likely voters and a sophisticated computer modeling program. Using the large sample combined with voter profiles, support levels have been modeled for all 50 states and 435 congressional districts, including New Jersey, and can be viewed here. The Data for Progress team used advanced modeling techniques known as MRP (multilevel regression with poststratification) to estimate support at the congressional district and state level. More on methodology can be found on the website.
“This issue has been litigated in the court of public opinion for years now, and even in the midst of a pandemic, voters are clear: They want Medicare to negotiate lower prices on behalf of Americans,” said David Mitchell, a patient with an incurable blood cancer whose drugs carry a list price of more than $900,000 per year and founder of Patients For Affordable Drugs Now. “Patients and consumers are hurting, too often having to choose between paying outrageous prices for their drugs or covering costs of other necessities. We support Congress and the Biden administration as they act to end this injustice in America.”
“Americans pay more for prescription drugs than anyone in the world. Big Pharma’s greed knows no bounds, and Americans from all walks of life are hurting from skyrocketing costs,” said Protect Our Care Executive Director Brad Woodhouse. “The new polling from Data for Progress confirms that voters are fed up with the status quo and demanding action from their elected officials. It is imperative that Congress give Medicare the power to negotiate for lower drug prices for all Americans — any lawmaker that tries to stand in the way is on the wrong side of this issue and on the wrong side of their constituents.”
“These numbers make it abundantly clear that voters want prescription drug price reforms,” said Sean McElwee, Executive Director at Data for Progress. “With strong support for allowing Medicare to negotiate to lower drug prices and the belief among voters that prescription drug prices are unreasonable, it’s clear that Congress must act to make these changes.”
Nationwide, the survey found that by more than a 2-to-1 margin, voters are more concerned that Congress won’t do enough to rein in the cost of prescription drugs than that Congress will go too far in restraining prices.
This new poll comes as the Senate Finance Committee is drafting legislation that would allow Medicare to negotiate, which would deliver on the president’s Build Back Better plan. The House of Representatives will begin marking up the reconciliation package, including a version of its Medicare negotiation legislation, H.R. 3, this week.
NEW JERSEY — 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, as a member of the Senate Finance Committee, Senator Menendez 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 10 Americans support this policy. We are calling on Senator Menendez to stand with patients against Big Pharma’s lobbying machine.”
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 Senator Menendez to support policy reform that would bring relief to New Jerseyans.
NEW JERSEY — Patients For Affordable Drugs Now launched a six-figure campaign encouraging Senator Bob Menendez (D-NJ) to support legislation to lower drug prices by allowing Medicare negotiation. The push began on July 2 and includes TV ads, digital ads, and grassroots advocacy, in which patients will write and call Senator Menendez directly.
“In the last year, 2 million New Jersey families could not pay for medicine or drugs prescribed by their doctor,” said David Mitchell, a cancer patient and founder of Patients For Affordable Drugs Now. “New Jerseyans are depending on Senator Menendez to help by ensuring Medicare can negotiate lower drug prices and that the savings go towards reducing costs for patients and consumers.”
Senate Finance Committee Chairman Ron Wyden recently released his guiding principles for drug pricing reform. It is expected that the Finance Committee’s bill will be considered for inclusion in the Democrats’ reconciliation budget package later this year.
“As the Senate Finance Committee develops detailed legislative proposals, we need Senator Menendez to lead on drug pricing reform that will deliver the innovation patients need at prices we can afford. We can have both,” Mitchell continued.
The campaign includes a new video ad 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 every month,” Ball, a grandmother and retired nurse, says in the video ad. “I can’t afford these prices. I had to ration and skip doses.”
“Congress is working to let Medicare negotiate lower drug prices. Ninety percent of Americans support it, and Senator Menendez should, too,” the ad says. “Patients need this reform, and we need his support.”
Watch the full video ad here and view the static ad below.
The New Jersey campaign is part of a national campaign calling on two key members of the Senate Finance Committee urging them to support legislation to allow Medicare to negotiate drug prices. In addition to Senator Menendez, the campaign calls on support for Medicare negotiation from Senator Tom Carper (D-DE).
This campaign marks the launch of P4ADNow’s outreach to senators in the 117th Congress. It complements the patient advocacy group’s House campaign to support H.R. 3 first launched on May 20 with a seven-figure budget to 42 House districts across 22 states and in D.C, which then expanded last week to add two more House districts. This campaign is, in part, a counterweight to Big Pharma’s attack ads loaded with lies about H.R. 3 and included video ads, digital ads, and grassroots advocacy.
NEW JERSEY — Patients For Affordable Drugs Now kicks off a campaign today thanking Reps. Andy Kim (NJ-03), Tom Malinowski (NJ-07), and Mikie Sherrill (NJ-11) for supporting Medicare negotiation, and calling on Rep. Josh Gottheimer (NJ-05) 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 New Jerseyans. The campaign includes TV and 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.
“New Jerseyans need Rep. Gottheimer to follow Reps. Kim, Malinowski, and Sherrill’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.”
The campaign includes TV and digital ads highlighting patient advocate Marcus LaCour, who lives with type 1 diabetes, and thanking Reps. Kim, Malinowski, and Sherrill for supporting Medicare negotiation. The ads will run on a combination of TV and digital platforms within NJ-03, NJ-07, and NJ-11.
“I was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes at 15 years old. Because insulin is so expensive, I’ve had to skip and ration my doses. My wife has had to skip meals so that we could afford the insulin that I needed to survive,” LaCour, a Cincinnati husband, father, minister, and drug affordability advocate says in the video ad. “No family should have to make that decision. For millions of Americans, it’s serious enough that we need help.”
Digital ads will run in NJ-05, urging Rep. Gottheimer 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.
TRENTON — Patient advocate Lisa Wetzel-Trainor will testify today in front of the New Jersey Assembly’s Financial Institutions and Insurance Committee in favor of a bill that would protect New Jersey patients from high prescription drug prices. The bill A2418 establishes a prescription drug affordability board designed to review drug prices and cap costs when a drug presents an affordability challenge.
Wetzel-Trainor, from Princeton, lives with fibromyalgia, PTSD, and ADHD, for which she is prescribed a very expensive prescription drug. “I’ve always lived in fear of what would happen if we were to lose coverage and have to pay the full cost of the drug. This past fall — in the middle of a terrifying pandemic — this fear became a reality,” Wetzel-Trainor will tell the committee.
When Wetzel-Trainor lost insurance coverage for Vyvanse, a drug that she depends on to maintain her quality of life, she was forced to go off the medication entirely. The drug has a price tag of over $1,000 each month. Even on a different, less effective medication, Wetzel-Trainor faces $150 per month for her drug.
“Paying $150 for my medication means $150 less for groceries, our mortgage, and other monthly expenses. Instead of focusing on my health, I worry about how I’ll cover the cost of my next prescription,” Wetzel-Trainor will say.
“I urge New Jersey lawmakers to stand up and support A2418 to ensure patients are not priced out of the medications they need to survive and afford us the quality of life we all deserve.”
A2418 would establish a prescription drug affordability board and stakeholder council designed to review prices for prescription drugs that meet specified cost criteria. The board would:
The hearing and Wetzel-Trainor’s testimony can be watched here at 10:00 AM ET.
Following this discussion-only hearing, the committee will hold a voting hearing on the bill on June 2.
My name is Robert Keller. I’m a 66-year old resident of Parsippany, NJ.
I have dealt with Type 1 diabetes for more than 40 years and I’ve had a kidney transplant. I have relied on long-term disability due to my diabetic symptoms. This allowed me to not only afford my medication, but also to stay at home with my two sons and take care of them. It’s been challenging, but I prefer to see the bright side of things. I got to stay at home with my two sons and be the best dad I could be. I taught them to fish, I was involved as a school parent, and even the only stay-at-home dad at the school’s Mother’s Tea.
But my disability income ended last year, and now many of my healthcare costs depend on my wife. She is 65 and still working, with no retirement in sight because of the high costs of my medication. She can’t stop working because if we were to use Medicare, my medication would cost my family up to $1,800 per month. That’s completely unaffordable.
I wish that my wife could retire and we could move to Medicare, but because of the high cost of medication, that simply isn’t an option. I believe that Medicare should be able to negotiate lower drug prices for their beneficiaries. If they were to negotiate down the cost of my medication, my wife and I would enjoy a higher quality of life.
I share my story because I want others to value good health, to thank God for it, but also, to try to take a walk in other people’s shoes. Think about when it might be you or a loved one in that hospital bed –– and how you would like to be treated. I can assure you you’d want to be able to afford your medicines.