Latest News | Mar 8, 2024

STATEMENT: Patients For Affordable Drugs Now Applauds President Biden’s Commitment To Lowering Drug Prices At The State Of The Union Address, Looks Ahead to Future Reforms

In response to President Biden’s comments in his State of the Union address about the historic drug price reforms in the Inflation Reduction Act and the forward-looking proposals he announced to further reduce drug prices, Merith Basey, Executive Director of Patients For Affordable Drugs Now, issued the following statement:

“Tonight, President Biden highlighted the monumental drug price reforms achieved through the Inflation Reduction Act, a cornerstone of his agenda and an issue that is overwhelmingly supported by the American people who are tired of being ripped off by pharmaceutical companies to the detriment of their lives and livelihoods.

“The enactment of the historic drug price reforms, coupled with the President’s proposal to more than double the number of drugs subject to Medicare negotiation and expand cost-saving measures to millions of people on private insurance, would be transformative toward ensuring that everyone in the U.S. can access the drugs they need at prices they can afford.

“This landmark legislation is a testament to the relentless efforts of patients. While we are already witnessing the impact of some of these reforms to lower drug prices, we continue to hear from patients burdened with high drug prices who are desperate for relief. On behalf of patients, we will continue to advocate for policies that protect and expand on the drug price reforms in the Inflation Reduction Act, dismantle Big Pharma’s abuse of the patent system, and make drugs more affordable for all who need them.”

P4ADNow patient advocate, Steven Hadfield, was a guest of First Lady Jill Biden in her box during the State of the Union this evening. Steven, who is 71 and a longtime resident of North Carolina, takes Januvia for his diabetes, which is one of the first 10 drugs selected for Medicare negotiation. He is also living with blood cancer and despite being in his 70s, cannot retire due to the price of his medications. He shared the following statement: 

“’For far too long, big drug companies have made a fortune while patients like me live in constant fear, wondering how we’ll pay for our medicine. The Inflation Reduction Act has been a lifeline, reducing my insulin costs from $400 to $35 per month. Medicare’s ability to negotiate lower drug prices offers hope for millions of patients like me. Less expensive drugs would finally allow me to rest more often or hopefully help me transition from working full-time to working part-time. I am honored to be a guest of First Lady Jill Biden during the State of the Union as President Biden advocates for lower drug prices. He understands that drugs don’t work if people can’t afford them.”

BACKGROUND
The historic Inflation Reduction Act is lowering prescription drug prices and reducing out-of-pocket costs for millions of people in this country.  

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Patients for Affordable Drugs Now, the C4 arm of P4AD, is the only national, bipartisan patient advocacy organization focused exclusively on policies to lower drug prices. We help educate and mobilize patients in support of legislation to fix our broken system. P4ADNOW does not accept funding from organizations that profit from the development and distribution of drugs. 

Today, the Biden Administration announced proposals to more than double the number of drugs to be negotiated by Medicare and expand the $2,000 cap on out-of-pocket prescription drugs to people on private insurance – extending savings to an additional 189 million people not on Medicare.  

The proposal also includes a $2 cost-sharing limit for specific generic drugs such as statins and beta-blockers for people on Medicare Part D, improving access to cell and gene therapies, starting with addressing sickle cell disease, a condition that affects more than 100,000 people in the United States, and extending requirements for drug companies to pay rebates when their price increases exceed the rate of inflation. 

Merith Basey, Executive Director of Patients For Affordable Drugs Now, responded to the proposal with the following statement: 

“These proposals would expand on the historic progress already being made as a result of the drug price reforms in the Inflation Reduction Act. For two decades, Americans have been held hostage by a system preventing the United States government from negotiating for lower drug prices on behalf of patients. These proposals would build upon hard-won victories and represent another step forward for patients and advocates in our ongoing fight to ensure that every person can get the drugs they need at prices they can afford. As we continue to hear from patients every day who are being forced to make impossible choices between skipping their medication or paying their bills —the urgency of this fight has never been more apparent.” 

Americans pay 3-8 times more than other high-income nations for brand-name prescription drugs, and over 90 percent of voters from across the political spectrum said lowering prices should be an important or top priority for Congress. This announcement on the eve of President Biden’s State of the Union address, signals the Biden Administration’s commitment to prioritizing lowering drug prices in the coming year.

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Patients For Affordable Drugs Now Founder Sets The Record Straight On Key Incentives For Innovation In Historic Drug Price Law Ahead of Energy and Commerce Health Subcommittee Hearing 

David Mitchell, founder of Patients For Affordable Drug Now and a patient with a rare incurable cancer, urged Congress not to bend to drug industry scare tactics and fear-mongering and not to weaken provisions to lower prices in the Inflation Reduction Act. He made his remarks in an expansive 21-page statement submitted to the House Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Health, ahead of tomorrow’s hearing focused on legislative proposals related to rare diseases.

Mitchell’s statement sets the record straight regarding the Inflation Reduction Act’s impact on small-molecule drugs. He refutes with real-world evidence, claims from the pharmaceutical industry that investments in small molecules would lag following the passage of the law and underscores the importance of safeguarding orphan drug incentives while preventing pharmaceutical industry abuse.

Drawing from his own experience as a rare disease patient, Mitchell highlights how the Inflation Reduction Act effectively addresses both innovation and affordability concerns. “I care deeply about innovation and new drug development. My life depends on it. Without innovation, I will die sooner than I hope to. That is just an unfortunate fact,” he wrote. “The Inflation Reduction Act restores balance to move us in the direction of fair prices and profits while still getting the innovation we need.”

David’s statement also highlights the stories of two patients, Sue from Wilmington, Delaware, and Cheryl from Louisville, Kentucky. Sue is living with a form of blood cancer and takes Imbruvica, which costs $18,000 a month. After insurance, she pays the first $8,000 in 2-month copays and then $1,000 a month thereafter. At 76 years old, Sue is working full-time to afford this medication, but because of the Inflation Reduction Act, she will save between $12,000-$14,000 this year with the out-of-pocket cap phasing in at the catastrophic level. Cheryl requires inhalers, like Trelegy, but because of the price, she often goes without until she has a bad episode. The $350 to $800 price tag per month presents a significant financial burden for Cheryl, who emphasized the absurdity of such costs for essential medication needed to breathe every day. Their experiences shed light on the urgent need for lower drug prices to ensure access to vital treatments for all patients. 

Key highlights from the statement underscore the law’s profound impact on innovation and affordability:

You can find the full written statement HERE. David will also be available for interviews and to comment on tomorrow’s hearing. To schedule please reach out to Emma Sands at [email protected] 

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The Ads Tell Constituents That After Vowing “To Stand Up To Drug Companies,” Don Davis Is “the Lone Democrat Willing To Weaken Medicare’s Power To Negotiate Drug Prices”

Washington, D.C. – Patients For Affordable Drugs Now (P4ADNow) today began running a series of TV ads to inform constituents in Congressman Don Davis’ district (D-NC1) that he has reneged on his campaign promise regarding prescription drug pricing. Congressman Davis pledged he would “stand up to drug companies.” Instead, Davis has become the only Democrat in the House of Representatives to sponsor legislation that would undermine Medicare’s ability to negotiate lower drug prices, a wildly popular provision in the Inflation Reduction Act that is supported by more than 80 percent of voters and would lower drug prices for millions of people on Medicare. 

His betrayal of his promise to patients comes after he accepted tens of thousands of dollars from drug companies including Gilead, Astellas, Genentech, Bayer, Pfizer, Novo Nordisk, GSK, Bristol Myers Squibb, Amgen, Boehringer Ingelheim, Merck, AbbVie, and Eli Lilly. 

“Voters overwhelmingly support Medicare negotiation to lower prescription drug prices,” said David Mitchell, a cancer patient and founder of Patients For Affordable Drugs Now.  “The voters in Congressman Davis’s district need to know that he reneged on his campaign promise to stand up to drug companies and is sponsoring legislation that, if enacted, would weaken Medicare’s ability to negotiate and lead to higher prices for roughly 90 percent of the drugs Americans need. 

P4ADNow has heard from dozens of patients within Congressman Davis’s district who are struggling under the weight of high drug prices. One constituent revealed the heartbreaking reality of having to forego essential medications despite being insured, simply due to financial strain. Another shared the daily struggle of managing a chronic disease while grappling with the prohibitive cost of medications, often relying on the goodwill of friends for assistance. Additionally, a third constituent’s plea for affordable access to life-saving heart medications for her husband underscores the urgent need for Congressman Davis to honor his campaign promises and prioritize the well-being of his constituents over corporate interests. 

These personal stories serve as an important reminder of the human toll of high drug prices and the critical importance of Medicare negotiation to alleviate the burden for millions of Americans.

The ads–which can be viewed here and here–will be broadcast across local television and digital platforms starting February 13th. 

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CMS Takes On Big Pharma And Makes First Offers To Manufacturers Of The First Ten Drugs Selected For Drug Price Negotiation To Lower Prices For Prescription Drugs

Patients For Affordable Drugs Now, applauds the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) as it takes the huge next step towards negotiating fair prices for essential medications. Today, CMS sent out its initial fair pricing offers to pharmaceutical manufacturers for the first 10 drugs selected for Medicare negotiations.
 
The 10 drugs chosen were identified as the top spending drugs covered under Medicare Part D without generic or biosimilar equivalents that have been on the market for at least seven years and also meet other selection criteria. These essential medications include cancer treatments, blood thinners, autoimmune disease treatments, and some diabetes drugs. Between June 2022 and May 2023, 8.3 million Medicare Part D enrollees used one or more of these medications. With 84 percent of voters backing Medicare negotiations, it’s clear CMS is doing work that is urgently demanded by the American public. 
 
Merith Basey, Executive Director of Patients For Affordable Drugs Now, released the following statement:
 
“Patients For Affordable Drugs Now stands firmly in support of Medicare negotiation and efforts to curb the unjustified costs of prescription medications. We hear from patients everyday who are grappling with the crushing weight of exorbitant drug prices, forced to make impossible decisions between their health and financial well-being. We’ve listened to stories of people rationing insulin or other life-sustaining medications just to make ends meet. By advancing this process of direct negotiation with drug companies, CMS is helping ensure that fewer people will have to make these tough choices. Drugs don’t work if people can’t afford them, and today marks a historic milestone in the fight to lower drug prices for everyone.”

Background in Medicare negotiations:

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On Friday, the Food and Drug Administration cleared the way for Florida to become the first state in the country to import prescription drugs from Canada. The following statement was issued by Merith Basey, executive director of Patients For Affordable Drugs Now in response to the decision: 

“The FDA’s approval today of Florida’s plan to import cheaper prescription drugs is yet another reflection of the fact that drug prices in the U.S. are simply too high and Americans need relief. Unfortunately, state-by-state importation from Canada is not a workable solution for all of us who need lower prices. Canada can’t supply all our drug needs and the pharmaceutical industry won’t ship Canada enough drugs to turn around and send them to the U.S. The Canadian government is not going to send drugs to the U.S. if it creates shortages in Canada. We need workable federal solutions that will lower prices for everyone in the U.S. like expanded Medicare negotiation and reforms to stop drug company abuse of our patent system that blocks competition and keeps prices high for all of us. The Inflation Reduction Act was a historic start but there is more work to do. There are bipartisan bills in Congress right now that would move us forward and enjoy overwhelming public support.”

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Patients Thank Senator Schumer For Leading Historic Reforms To Lower Drug Prices And Push For Bills To Curb Anti-Competitive Practices And Boost Generic Competition

NEW YORK — Over 100 patients from New York who depend on essential, high-priced medications sent a letter to Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer thanking him for his work to lower drug prices and urging him to continue his efforts to make medicines more affordable by including legislation that would curb patent abuse and increase competition in a January health care package.
 
The letter to Senator Schumer endorses a package of bipartisan bills, which, having received committee approval, address the anti-competitive tactics employed by drug companies to delay the entry of generic competition necessary to reduce drug prices. These legislative reforms are anticipated to substantially decrease prices and out-of-pocket expenses for millions of patients and result in significant savings for taxpayers.
 
“We stand in support of the bipartisan bills aimed at curbing these anti-competitive practices,” the letter reads. “We know that you and Senators on both sides of the aisle have been working to advance these measures. It’s critical that we take action now to improve competition and address the loopholes exploited by Big Pharma. Doing so will lead to lower out-of-pocket costs for millions of people and substantial savings for taxpayers.’
 
The bills included are: 


“As your constituents in New York, we are committed to supporting your efforts to make progress on these critical bills,” the letter continues. “We laud your dedication to this cause and we are eager to see you build on the work you’ve already achieved to ensure these bipartisan bills are enacted to further lower prescription drug prices for patients nationwide.”
 
Read the full letter and list of signers here and below. 
 
——– 
 
Senator Chuck Schumer
Majority Leader
322 Hart Senate Office Building
Washington, DC 20510
 
Dear Senator Schumer,
 
As patients from New York who rely on expensive medications to treat our illnesses or conditions we are particularly impacted by the high price of prescription drugs. We are writing to express our gratitude for your tireless efforts in championing vital prescription drug reforms to make medications more accessible and affordable for all.
 
The Inflation Reduction Act was instrumental in securing historic reforms such as drug price negotiation under Medicare, an out-of-pocket cap in Medicare Part D, and inflation-based rebates for drugs in Medicare Part B and D. These initiatives will significantly alleviate the burden of high prescription drug costs for many of us in our community and millions across the country. The actions you’ve taken are positively impacting the lives of seniors, people with disabilities, and many others relying on Medicare for essential medications.
 
Despite all that progress, we recognize that you are well aware that more work is needed to ensure continued progress to combat exorbitant prescription drug prices. As you know, Big Pharma uses anti-competitive practices, like patent thickets, product hopping, and pay-for-delay arrangements, to hinder the entry of generic and biosimilar medications into the market, obstructing market competition that would reduce drug prices for patients across the country.
 
We stand in support of the bipartisan bills aimed at curbing these anti-competitive practices. We know that you and Senators on both sides of the aisle have been working to advance these measures. It’s critical that we take action now to improve competition and address the loopholes exploited by Big Pharma. Doing so will lead to lower out-of-pocket costs for millions of people and substantial savings for taxpayers.
 
As your constituents in New York, we are committed to supporting your efforts to make progress on these critical bills. We laud your dedication to this cause and we are eager to see you build on the work you’ve already achieved to ensure these bipartisan bills are enacted to further lower prescription drug prices for patients nationwide.
 
Thank you for your unwavering commitment to lower drug prices for all Americans. We stand with you and eagerly anticipate this package of crucial bills being brought to the floor so we can enhance competition for prescription drugs and reduce costs for patients.
 
Sincerely,
 
[Patient Signatures]
 

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Vote Sets Stage For Negotiation On Bipartisan Bills Promoting Competition Making Their Way Through The Senate

The following statement was issued by Merith Basey, executive director of Patients For Affordable Drugs Now, after the House of Representatives passed the “Lower Costs, More Transparency Act”: 

“The House’s decisive bipartisan action tonight in passing the “Lower Costs, More Transparency Act” including measures to increase transparency and further tackle high drug prices by improving the generic drug approval process, is highly encouraging and moves the Congress in the right direction. This development boosts the momentum for the Senate leadership to move forward with a comprehensive health care package, encompassing bills aimed at lowering drug prices by addressing patent abuses and other anti-competitive tactics employed by drug companies to delay generic and biosimilar competition. This action helps to pave the way for a bipartisan end of year package that can lower prescription drug prices for everyone.”

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