Second Opinion: The Truth About The Big Pharma Bailout

In their latest attempt to make billions of dollars on the backs of patients, drug manufacturers are trying to exploit every legislative avenue available to advance a Big Pharma bailout that would ultimately raise the price of prescription drugs for seniors in the Medicare Part D coverage gap, also known as the donut hole.


Congress took steps to close the coverage gap earlier this year in the Bipartisan Budget Act of 2018 (BBA) and now, Big Pharma is trying to reverse it, spreading false claims that this action would benefit seniors.


Their advertisements are claiming this proposal would be good for seniors, but their rhetoric doesn’t match reality.


Here are the facts: if Congress reverses the progress made under the BBA…


As Congress considers this damaging proposal, CSRxP is debunking Big Pharma’s biggest mistruths about what is really at stake:


MISTRUTH #1: The Congressional action under consideration regarding the BBA policy would correct a technical mistake made by CBO in the scoring (See CBO Letter to Representative Meadows), which consequently threatened the program’s successful competitive structure and left seniors paying five times more than their insurers for coverage of brand drugs in the donut hole.  It does not reverse the entire policy.



MISTRUTH #2: CMS has said it has significant concerns with the original policy changes made in the BBA, “we have significant concerns about the impact these changes will have on drug costs under Part D in 2019 and future years.”



MISTRUTH #3: As reported by POLITICO, there is bipartisan support in Congress to make this change to the BBA policy with 155 House Republicans and 50 House Democrats signing letters calling for the change.



MISTRUTH #4: The real “win” in the Part D package under consideration is: 1) re-stabilizing Part D by fixing the balance in payment responsibility and 2) averting the Part D cliff.  Together, these two policy fixes would reduce out-of-pocket costs for seniors with high drug spending more than the original BBA changes, leaving them better off and, in 2020, saving them up to seven percent on their out-of-pocket costs.



CSRxP, Patients for Affordable Drugs, AARP and other groups have been working to bring to light the Big Pharma bailout, including launching a digital ad campaign.  As Big Pharma tries to distract Congress with their false claims, we will continue to make clear what this proposal really is: another way for price-gouging drug manufacturers to make billions, while increasing prices on patients.


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