CSRxP: Legislative Hearing on Drug Pricing Bills a Positive First Step, Now More Action Needed

Mar 13, 2019

Today, members of the U.S. House Committee on Energy & Commerce Subcommittee on Health held a legislative hearing on a number of proposals to tackle skyrocketing drug prices, more evidence of building momentum in Congress to take concrete action.

“Today’s hearing was an important first step toward passing bipartisan, market-based solutions like the CREATES Act into law,” said Campaign for Sustainable Rx Pricing (CSRxP) executive director Lauren Aronson. “Lawmakers in Congress must continue to advance these proposals and get them passed to deliver relief for American patients and consumers.”

“We know Big Pharma will do and say anything to slow any progress and manufacture concerns with this legislation but with bipartisan support, including from the administration and leaders in Congress, the conditions are ripe for Washington to deliver concrete progress to lower prescription drug prices,” Aronson continued.

During the hearing members from both sides of the aisle expressed concern over the high price of prescription drugs and the need to work together to focus on solutions that inject more competition and crack-down on the anti-competitive tactics of Big Pharma:

Representative Peter Welch (D-VT): “We have got an opportunity – bipartisan – to finally tackle the rip-off pricing in the pharma system and yesterday we had Secretary Azar here who said that the administration supports efforts … to have FAST and the CREATES Act passed … So we have an opportunity – bipartisan – to address something that has been an enormous burden on the American consumer and the American taxpayer.”

Representative Gus Bilirakis (R-FL): “Thank you for holding this hearing … this is a priority for all of us because our constituents talk about this all the time, again the high prices, the high prescription drug prices.  So, we must lower the prescription drug prices and I hear this from our veteran population, our senior population and the general population.  So, I remain committed to working with my colleagues on both sides of the aisle to achieve that desired result in a way that does not undermine … the progress that has been made.”

Representative Frank Pallone (D-NJ): “Today, the committee begins the process of providing some much needed relief to Americans struggling to pay for skyrocketing prescription drugs.  I’m pleased that we will be examining policies that will help bring the high costs of prescription drugs down.  The American people have justifiably been demanding congressional action to make prescription drugs more affordable and who can blame them … It’s time for Congress to help make prescription drugs more affordable … and I believe reducing barriers to generic drugs and increasing competition in the pharmaceutical market will benefit American families who are struggling to afford their medications.”

Representative Richard Hudson (R-NC): “One of the things I hear constantly from my constituents is their out-of-pocket costs are too high.  I think working in a bipartisan way to make generic access to the market as simple as possible is important not only for our government spending on drug prices, but also for our consumers’ out-of-pocket costs.  Simply put, generics save money.”

Brand-name drug makers have been gaming the system for too long.  At a time when one in four Americans can’t afford their prescription drugs, it’s time for Congress to use this rare bipartisan consensus to focus on market-based solutions that have wide bipartisan support, such as the CREATES Act and FAST Generics Act – not slow down the progress that is taking place.