STATEMENT: Americans Will Pay Lower Prices Under New House Drug Plan

WASHINGTON, DC — David Mitchell, a cancer patient and the founder of Patients For Affordable Drugs Now, issued the following statement in response to a draft plan in the House of Representatives that would lower drug prices for Americans through negotiations with drug corporations.

“If reports are accurate, this plan would deliver significant relief for patients and taxpayers. The proposal would lower prescription drug prices for American patients while protecting access to medicine and increasing funding for innovation.

“Americans pay two to three times what people in other nations pay for prescription drugs. Why? Other countries negotiate — we don’t. This proposal will ensure that Americans experience lower drug prices whether covered by a government plan or private insurance. It will be a bold step forward.”

BACKGROUND:

According to reports, the plan includes the following key provisions that would:

  • End the ban on Medicare negotiating directly with drug companies to lower prescription drug prices and empower HHS to negotiate prices for the 250 most costly drugs each year.

  • Establish a maximum fair price based on an international pricing index. Americans will pay no more than 120 percent what other wealthy nations pay (Canada, United Kingdom, Germany, France, Australia, Japan), and negotiations could take that price lower.

  • Ensure that Americans –– regardless of insurance type –– have access to lower-priced drugs. A drug corporation would be required to offer the negotiated price to Medicare and non-Medicare insurance plans — this includes people who buy insurance through their employer, the VA, Healthcare.gov, etc. If a drug company overcharges Medicare or fails to offer the fair price to people, it will be subject to a penalty of 10 times the difference between the price charged and the maximum fair price for the drug.

  • Stop drug companies from increasing prices on all drugs faster than the rate of inflation, and impose penalties on drug companies if prices rise above inflation. If a drug company has raised the price of a drug in Medicare Part B or D above the rate of inflation since 2016, it can either lower the price or be required to pay the entire price above inflation back to the Treasury.

  • Cap seniors’ out-of-pocket costs for prescription drugs at $2,000 per year. Currently, out-of-pocket costs for seniors on Medicare can be over $15,000 per year.

  • Direct savings to new drug research and innovation at the NIH.

Medicare Part D provides coverage for 43 million Americans’ prescription drug needs. And spending has been on an untenable path.

  • Nearly 1 in 3 adults report not taking their medicines as prescribed because of the cost — (KFF)

  • Eighty six percent of Americans — majorities of Democrats, Republicans, and Independents — support allowing Medicare to negotiate for lower prescription drug prices. But under current law, Medicare is prohibited from negotiating directly with drug companies on behalf of taxpayers and Medicare beneficiaries. — (KFF)

  • Eighty percent of Americans say Congress’s top priority should be action to lower drug prices. — (Harvard/Politico)

  • Drug prices and Medicare drug spending are out of control. Americans pay twice as much for prescription drugs as other nations. — (The Atlantic)

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