They Said It! Lawmakers Advance Key Drug Pricing Bills

Mar 28, 2019

House Energy & Commerce Members Recommit To Bipartisan Action As Critical Measures Advance

On Wednesday, the U.S. House Committee on Energy & Commerce Subcommittee on Health approved several key pieces of legislation aiming to bring down drug prices through increased competition and transparency.  This development marks positive progress, but much more needs to be done to deliver relief for Americans struggling to afford their medications.

Among the bills which advanced were the CREATES Act, Purple Book Continuity Act of 2019 and Orange Book Transparency Act of 2019.  Three measures CSRxP believes are helpful to the mission of lowering out-of-control prescription drug prices.

While members of the subcommittee engaged in debate regarding proposed amendments to the legislation, resonating throughout the discussions was a clear, bipartisan commitment to concrete action to tackle rising drug prices.

Representative Anna Eshoo (D-CA), U.S House Energy & Commerce Health Subcommittee Chairwoman: “Taken together, the six drug pricing bills before us today will lower drug prices and save taxpayers billions of dollars.  The bill will close loopholes, prevent drug manufacturers from gaming the system, and the bills will make cheaper generic drugs available to patients more quickly.”

Representative Michael Burgess (R-TX), U.S House Energy & Commerce Health Subcommittee Ranking Member: “I believe every member of this subcommittee can agree that drug prices are too high … I do look forward to working in a bipartisan fashion on a number of these bills and I do want to thank the chairwoman for her leadership on H.R. 1520, the Purple Book Continuity Act of 2019.  Biosimilars play an important role in providing more affordable and accessible drugs to patients.  Anyone who has tried to navigate the purple book has probably noticed the cumbersome nature of the PDF format and wondered why it is not streamlined … I hope the subcommittee will adopt these changes as they will improve upon the policy contained in the legislation and make it more useful for developers of biosimilars, in addition to providers, payers and of course patients.”

Representative Frank Pallone (D-NJ), U.S House Energy & Commerce Committee Chairman: “One of the most effective ways to bring down the cost of prescription drugs is to ensure that generics can come to market as soon as possible … The evidence is clear, facilitating greater competition from generic and biosimilar products will lead to substantial cost savings for consumers and taxpayers … Together these bills are a strong first step in making prescription drugs more affordable and provide real relief to hardworking Americans.”

Representative Buddy Carter (R-GA): “As a pharmacist I know firsthand how out-of-control prices can hurt patients.  This should be a bipartisan, all hands-on deck, effort.”

Representative Debbie Dingell (D-MI): “For many of the working families in my district … prescription drugs are among the most expensive items on the budget, as prices continue to rise, this is not a talking point, people are choosing between taking a pill and eating.  And one of the best examples is what’s happened to the cost of insulin.  And people are cutting their pills in half.”

Representative Brett Guthrie (R-KY): “I want to thank my friend from Illinois for her commitment to maintaining the value of Orange Book to drug manufactures, payers, providers and patients.  I appreciate your willingness to work together … in the interest of progress and bipartisanship, I support advancing this bill out of subcommittee.”

The Campaign for Sustainable Rx Pricing (CSRxP) is pleased to see Congress working to advance legislation that will bring down high drug prices for American patients and looks forward to the full House Energy & Commerce Committee taking up these important bills.