WASHINGTON, D.C. — After today’s Senate Finance Committee and House Committee on Oversight and Reform hearings on skyrocketing prescription drug prices, David Mitchell, a cancer patient and the founder of Patients For Affordable Drugs Now, issued the following statement:
“Today’s hearings are an encouraging start. It’s clear that there is bipartisan support to rein in Big Pharma’s monopoly pricing power.
“We are not surprised that drug corporations refused the Senate Committee’s invitation to participate. Those drug company CEOs can’t defend the indefensible.
“We look forward to helping Congress stand up to the drug industry and begin to actually lower drug prices for patients. Unchecked, drug company executives will continue to hold patients hostage to increase their profits. Congress needs to let them know that these abuses won’t stand any longer.”
Millions of Americans don’t take their medications because of high prescription prices.
The government’s failure to negotiate on drug prices hurts patients and taxpayers. According to a recent study in JAMA, Medicare Part D could have saved $14.4 billion in 2016 alone by negotiating as the Department of Veterans Affairs does.
A recent Harvard/Politico poll showed that 80 percent of American people say that Congress’ top priority should be action to lower drug prices.
Joan Tramontano, 77, of Venice, Florida spent a career in public relations, saving all she could for retirement. After doctors diagnosed her with GIST, or gastrointestinal stromal tumor, she was prescribed Gleevec in 2009, a Novartis drug that rose in price from $26,000 in 2001 to $140,000 in 2017, an increase of nearly 440 percent.
“My out-of-pocket for that drug with Medicare Part D insurance has come, so far, to $60,000, cutting deeply into my retirement money, which is incredibly devastating and scary. I’m so glad to see Congress, with investigations and hearings, focusing this week on Novartis and a drug that has caused so much financial devastation and worry to me. Patients like me need Congress to act to lower drug prices soon. We hope the future will bring legislation to finally negotiate drug prices, crack down on excessive price hikes, bring more transparency to our system, and protect patients from unfair price gouging.”