House passes bill to lower prescription drug prices
The House voted today to pass H.R. 3, the Elijah E. Cummings Lower Drug Costs Now Act, which would lower the costs of key medicines and medical treatments by thousands of dollars, making lifesaving care more affordable for American families.
“Today House Democrats delivered on a core promise which we made to the American people, that we would take action to lower the cost of their prescription drugs,” said Rep. Don Beyer, D-Va. “This legislation is a huge step forward in our fight to secure access to affordable health care for all Americans. Patients in the United States pay four times more than those in other countries for the exact same drugs and treatments, and today we are doing something about that. If the President and his allies in the Senate would honor his core campaign promise to act on drug prices, they should take up this lifesaving legislation without delay and pass it into law.”
“The Lower Drug Costs Now Act is an overdue bill that would ease the financial burdens of many hardworking families while funding groundbreaking research,” said Congresswoman Elaine Luria, D-Va. “I urge the Senate to make life-saving prescription drugs more affordable for all Americans by passing the Lower Drug Costs Now Act.”
“At my prescription drug forum last month in Henrico County, I heard about the tough decisions Virginia seniors and families face every day as drug prices skyrocket. In conversation after conversation, it’s clear that Central Virginians are being gouged on their lifesaving prescription medications. And for too long, Congress’ hands have been tied by the pharmaceutical lobby—and lawmakers have refused to take action,” said Congresswoman Abigail Spanberger, D-Va. “I’m proud to be a cosponsor of the Lower Drug Costs Now Act, and today’s passage brings us one step closer to combating relentless price increases in our communities. I’ve long pushed to give Medicare the power to negotiate for lower prices, and this bill delivers that commonsense provision. Our bill also cracks down on drug companies’ abusive practices, and it would help reverse decades of unfair price hikes on medications to treat widespread conditions like diabetes, breast cancer, and arthritis. American families shouldn’t be paying tens of thousands of dollars more for identical medications compared to other industrialized countries, and I urge the U.S. Senate to take up this legislation now.”
An analysis by the House Committee on Ways and Means, which has partial jurisdiction over health care legislation, shows that passing H.R. 3 into law would result in enormous savings for residents of across Virginia, including:
- Breast Cancer: Virginia patients could save $45,100 off the average total cost of the breast cancer medication Ibrance per year;
- Leukemia: Virginia patients could save $66,300 off the average total cost of the leukemia medication Tasigna per year;
- Prostate Cancer: Virginia patients could save $72,100 off the average total cost of the prostate cancer medication Zytiga per year;
- Arthritis: Virginia patients could save $30,000 off their total costs on most arthritis drugs per year;
- Asthma: Virginia patients could save $1,130 off their total costs on most Asthma drugs per year;
- HIV/AIDS: Virginia patients could save $9,000 off their total costs on most HIV/AIDS drugs per year;
- Multiple Sclerosis: Virginia patients could save $27,000 off their total costs on most MS drugs per year;
- Diabetes: Virginia patients could save $15,000 off the average total cost of the insulin NovoLOG Flexpen per year.
The Lower Drug Costs Now Act finally levels the playing field for American patients and taxpayers:
- Gives Medicare the power to negotiate directly with the drug companies, and creates powerful new tools to force drug companies to the table to agree to real price reductions, while ensuring seniors never lose access to the prescriptions they need.
- Makes the lower drug prices negotiated by Medicare available to Americans with private insurance, not just Medicare beneficiaries.
- Stops drug companies ripping off Americans while charging other countries less for the same drugs, limiting the maximum price for any negotiated drug to be in line with the average price in countries like ours, where drug companies charge less for the same drugs – and admit they still make a profit.
- Creates a new, $2,000 out-of-pocket limit on prescription drug costs for Medicare beneficiaries, and reverses years of unfair price hikes above inflation across thousands of drugs in Medicare.
- Reinvests the hundreds of billions of dollars in savings in the most transformational improvement to Medicare since its creation – delivering vision, dental and hearing benefits – and turbocharging the search for new cures.