They Said It! House Lawmakers Agree Bipartisan Action Needed To Bring Down Drug Prices

For Immediate Release 
Contact: Jon Conradi
860-235-3884
[email protected]

On Tuesday, the U.S. House Committee on Ways & Means held the third hearing of the new Congress in under one month that featured clear, bipartisan consensus on the need for immediate action to bring down the out-of-control prices of pharmaceutical drugs.

The commitment expressed by lawmakers on both sides of the aisle, including the chairman and ranking member of the committee, to work on drug price solutions is further evidence of momentum in Congress to act now on behalf of suffering American patients.

Chairman Richard Neal (D-MA): “[This is] not a Democratic or Republican issue, it spans the political spectrum … I look forward to working with colleagues on both sides of the aisle to identify solutions.” (U.S. Representative Richard Neal, “The Cost Of Rising Prescription Drug Prices,” U.S. House Ways & Means Committee, 2/12/19)

Ranking Member Kevin Brady (R-TX): “We want to push for solutions that work for patients … Let’s show the American people we are ready to do just that … Congress needs to work together to lower out of pocket health care costs, focusing on cracking down on overpriced drugs.” (U.S. Representative Kevin Brady, “The Cost Of Rising Prescription Drug Prices,” U.S. House Ways & Means Committee, 2/12/19)

Representative Vern Buchanan (R-FL): “I’m very excited about the possibility of working together, we need bipartisan solutions … people want us to find a way to work together to bend the curve on costs.” (U.S. Representative Vern Buchanan, “The Cost Of Rising Prescription Drug Prices,” U.S. House Ways & Means Committee, 2/12/19)

Representative Jackie Walorski (R-IN): “I’m excited in looking for a bipartisan solution, that we can actually come to the American people and solve this by working together and I think that’s very possible.” (U.S. Representative Jackie Walorski, “The Cost Of Rising Prescription Drug Prices,” U.S. House Ways & Means Committee, 2/12/19)

Throughout the hearing, several lawmakers also shared heart-breaking accounts of just how reaching and urgent the issue of out-of-control drug pricing is for American patients.  Congressmen shared several stories from constituents struggling or unable to afford the prescription drugs they need:

Representative Stephanie Murphy (D-FL): “Like many Americans, Sandra [my constituent] has diabetes.  Her medications used to cost $100 per month.  But not long ago, for reasons she can’t explain, the cost tripled to $300 per month … She’s on a fixed income and so tripling the price of her drugs basically puts her in a situation where she can’t afford her medicine and her bills for food and housing.  She’s basically stopped taking her medicine altogether.  Here she is at 66 in retirement considering going back to work so that she can simply afford her medicine … It’s an experience for many Americans and I think these Americans want more than just sympathy from their members of Congress, they want to see solutions.” (U.S. Representative Stephanie Murphy, “The Cost Of Rising Prescription Drug Prices,” U.S. House Ways & Means Committee, 2/12/19)

Representative Jason Smith (R-MO): “I’ve recently held several health care roundtables throughout our district to understand what was working and what was failing with patients in our health care system.  I heard two consistent themes: Patient out of pocket drugs for prescription drugs are too high and we need more price transparency in our healthcare system.  Patients and pharmacists understand these problems.  Patients in southeast Missouri keep paying more and more at the pharmacy counter and they can’t figure out why.  A woman I represent, we’ll call her Mrs. R, wrote me to ask for help.  Mrs. R is 74 years old and on a fixed income.  She has Medicare, a Medicare supplement and a Part D drug plan.  She took every step in her power to make sure she could afford her medicine.  She did everything right, but our health care system is still failing her.  The same generic drug she was taking for the last 30 years suddenly rose in price by over 3,200 percent.  Not by double, not by triple.  This generic drug suddenly cost her 32 times what it cost her the month before for no apparent reason.” (U.S. Representative Jason Smith, “The Cost Of Rising Prescription Drug Prices,” U.S. House Ways & Means Committee, 2/12/19)

Representative Mike Thompson (D-CA): “I received a letter from a constituent in Santa Rosa, Susan, who said she has ulcerative colitis and the drug that she has to take for that is outrageously expensive.  She pays $1,000 a month for that drug and there’s no generic alternatives.  She’s boxed in.” (U.S. Representative Mike Thompson, “The Cost Of Rising Prescription Drug Prices,” U.S. House Ways & Means Committee, 2/12/19)

Representative Linda Sanchez (D-CA): “A woman in my district, Alice, she shared her story with us.  She said, ‘Last year, I went into the donut hole in June and couldn’t afford my insulin.  So, I had to go between my primary doctor and my diabetes doctor basically begging for samples.  I was humiliated.’  Now nobody who needs lifesaving medication should have to go from place to place begging for samples.” (U.S. Representative Linda Sanchez, “The Cost Of Rising Prescription Drug Prices,” U.S. House Ways & Means Committee, 2/12/19)

Representative Steven Horsford (D-NV): “I have heard from so many constituents who are facing health challenges and are having to choose between having the resources and the money to buy lifesaving medications or whether to pay rent, buy food, invest in their education.” (U.S. Representative Steven Horsford, “The Cost Of Rising Prescription Drug Prices,” U.S. House Ways & Means Committee, 2/12/19)

The Campaign for Sustainable Rx Pricing (CSRxP) is encouraged to see Members of Congress from both sides of the aisle committed to working together on bipartisan solutions to bring down prescription drug prices for the American people.

Congress should capitalize on the rare, bipartisan momentum around this issue to pass market-based solutions that will address Big Pharma’s anti-competitive tactics and bring more generic and biosimilar options to the market to provider Americans with lower cost alternatives.

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