Jan 14, 2020

Editorial Boards, Lawmakers and More Reiterate Need for Market-Based Solutions to Out-of-Control Prescription Drug Prices in 2020

Right on cue, Big Pharma kicked off the New Year by raising prices on 2,167 prescription drugs in the first week of 2020.  The new round of price hikes have added to the momentum to pass bipartisan market-based solutions, with editorial boards, federal lawmakers and Americans from various backgrounds all reiterating the need for urgent action.

In particular, the U.S. Senate must take up and pass The Prescription Drug Pricing Reduction Act, introduced by Senators Chuck Grassley (R-IA) and Ron Wyden (D-OR). Read more on this key solution that would hold Big Pharma accountable, disincentivize price hikes, cap out-of-pocket costs for seniors, boost transparency and save patients and taxpayers more than $130 billion, HERE.

Here are what editorial boards from around the nation are saying about getting drug pricing solutions like Grassley-Wyden passed in 2020:

The Los Angeles Times Editorial Board:

“A bipartisan Senate proposal to address escalating drug prices would take a much more measured step, protecting Medicare (along with its enrollees and taxpayers) against price increases greater than the rate of inflation for many of the medications it covers. Other provisions would help seniors with their out-of-pocket costs for drugs, but those mainly chip away at the edges of the affordability problem … The glimmer of hope for consumers is that everyone in Washington is eager to be able to say they accomplished something on healthcare costs. The various proposals on … prescription drugs have laid out ample common ground. Lawmakers and Trump just have to be willing to go there.”

Tulsa World Editorial Board (Tulsa, OK):

“Health care reform advocates in both parties, including President Trump, have pushed for common-sense reforms for years, but the pharmaceutical lobby has always prevailed. Congress needs to put the priorities of constituents over the profits of Big Pharma and act to reduce prescription drug prices.”

The Journal Times Editorial Board (Racine, WI)

“… Congress needs to take action early in the new year to reduce prescription drug prices. No one should have to drive hundreds of miles to find an affordable price on life-saving medicine. They also shouldn’t have to disregard their doctor’s advice and ration the medicine because of how expensive it is.”

Here are what federal lawmakers are saying:

Senate Finance Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley (R-IA):

“Congress will have the opportunity to act on prescription drug pricing and finally make good on a promise nearly all of us have made … The inclusion of the CREATES Act is a good first step toward addressing abuse and establishing a freer and fairer prescription drug marketplace, but much more must be done if Americans are truly going to see lower prices at the pharmacy counter any time soon.”

Senator Jeff Merkley (D-OR):

“One piece of this that is absolutely fixable … is the drug pricing. I’ve had so many people in town halls compare what they would be paying in Canada, Mexico or anywhere in Europe, or New Zealand, Australia or Japan … We spend more as Americans on research that produces more drugs than other nations… We’re all getting ripped off together. Let’s fix it together.”

Senator Todd Young (R-IN):

“We also need to work to lower the costs of prescription drugs that give families the unenviable choice of buying medicine or paying bills.” 

Representative Haley Stevens (D-MI):

“This is not acceptable. This is why I’m working every day to lower the cost of prescription drugs for hardworking Michiganders. Real lives are on the line here. We must put our people first!” 

Representative Greg Walden (R-OR):

“We’ve done a lot over the years to try and bring about competition…and bring down prices. We did so in a bipartisan manner in the last Congress, getting more generics to market than any time in one year as the result of changes we enacted for the FDA approval process. And we hope to build on that going into this year.”

Senator Kamala Harris (D-CA):

“Pharmaceutical companies continue to prioritize profits over people by hiking up the cost of prescription drugs. Americans are tired of this. No patient should have to delay or skip their drugs because of prices.” 

Senator Mike Braun (R-IN):

“My top legislative priority for 2020 is to continue this work to lower costs for services and prescription drugs through transparency, market-competition, and streamlined drug approvals. I think there’s a great chance of a great legislative package coming through the Senate this year.”

And here are what additional voices have said in recent weeks:

Maine State Senator Robert Foley (R-York):

“[T]here is a bipartisan bill introduced by Sens. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) and Ron Wyden (D-Ore.) that would keep prices in check. Still, until it is passed, Americans will, unfortunately, continue to face the brunt of rising costs … Congress can rein in Big Pharma with the Prescription Drug Pricing Reduction Act (PDPRA). The bill, if passed, would penalize pharmaceuticals that increase their prices at a rate faster than inflation, deterring price gouging. And it would cap out-of-pocket prescription drug costs for Medicare beneficiaries.”

David Mitchell, Founder, Patients for Affordable Drugs Now:

“’This is an issue that the American people are paying attention to,’ said David Mitchell, founder of the advocacy group Patients for Affordable Drugs Now. ‘They’re going to have a chance to speak their mind in early November, and they are going to be looking to see who did something to actually lower their drug prices.’”

Colleen Hammond, College Student, Pennsylvania:

“The Prescription Drug Price Relief Act of 2019 will bring the U.S. to the same level as the rest of the developed world. The U.S. has the highest prescription drug prices in the western world. The industry’s quest for profit has greatly disadvantaged the American people and places many low-income families in dire situations. Despite the overwhelming start to 2020, lawmakers must not neglect their duty to protect the American people from pharmaceutical companies who seek to profit off of medical desperation.” 

Former Alabama State Senator Dick Brewbaker (R-Montgomery):

“By backing the PDPRA, Congress has the opportunity to provide relief to millions of Americans, take another step in improving the nation’s fiscal situation, and hold pharmaceutical companies accountable for their prescription drug price gouging. With lawmakers’ help, Americans can finally get some peace of mind.”

Out-of-control prescription drug prices have created a health and affordability crisis for millions of Americans. A recent Gallup survey found nearly 23 percent of Americans, approaching 58 million U.S. adults, say they have been unable to afford drugs they were prescribed in the past 12 months. The survey found the number of Americans who reported struggling to afford their medications also rose four percent from the start of the year.

The Gallup poll also found close to nine in 10 U.S. adults believe the current cost of prescription drugs is “much higher” or “somewhat higher” than what consumers should be paying. This perception was consistent across political and demographic groups.

Washington simply must act to hold Big Pharma accountable and lower drug prices. See CSRxP’s infographic detailing solutions with significant bipartisan consensus in Congress HERE.