U.S. Senator Tammy Baldwin Introduces Legislation to Make Prescription Drugs More Affordable for Seniors on Medicare
Bill would lower costs and put people over Big Pharma profits
WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senator Tammy Baldwin, a member of the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP) Committee, introduced legislation with Senators Sherrod Brown (D-OH) and Amy Klobuchar (D-MN) to make prescription drugs more affordable for seniors on Medicare.
The Medicare Negotiation and Competitive Licensing Act would authorize the Secretary of Health and Human Services (HHS) to negotiate drug prices and, if drug companies refuse to negotiate in good faith, to enable the Secretary to issue a competitive, compulsory license to another company that is willing and able to produce the medication as a generic. The bill is being introduced in the House of Representatives by Congressman Lloyd Doggett (D-TX), Peter Welch (D-VT) and Elijah Cummings (D-MD).
“We have a broken system in Washington that prohibits the federal government from negotiating lower prescription drug prices for older Wisconsinites,” said Senator Baldwin. “We need to fix this and provide seniors a better deal on prescription drug costs. Let’s allow the government to negotiate directly with drug companies so we can lower costs for seniors and save taxpayers money.”
“The purpose of medicine is to help people, not to line the pockets of Big Pharma executives. Our bill would call Big Pharma’s bluff and demand prescription drug companies offer fair prices, or be boxed out,” said Senator Brown.
American patients are burdened by high drug prices, as these same patients’ tax dollars go into protecting government-approved, government-funded monopolies. The top health care concern for Americans is skyrocketing prescription drug prices. It is past time for a patient-first plan to lower them.
Big pharmaceutical companies often use scare tactics in order to maintain the highest profits of any industry. Prescription drug companies have previously made threats against negotiations bills, stating that if they were forced to negotiate more competitive prices, they would simply refuse to sell its drugs to people on Medicare. The Medicare Negotiation and Competitive Licensing Act stipulates that if pharmaceutical companies refuse to agree to a reasonable price on a given medication, the Secretary of HHS could issue this competitive, compulsory license to another company that will offer the drug at a price that’s fair to Medicare beneficiaries and taxpayers.
In 2018, Americans spent an all-time high of $360 billion on prescription drugs. According to a 2016 Consumer Reports survey, 30 percent of Americans who experienced an increase in the price of one or more of their medications left a prescription unfilled because it was too expensive; 15 percent said they cut pills in half to make them last longer.
The full legislation is available here.
Mentioned in This Press Release
Recent Press Releases by U.S. Sen. Tammy Baldwin
Baldwin, colleagues slam pharmaceutical company for falsifying data on gene therapy that carries a record $2.1 million price tag
U.S. Senator Tammy Baldwin Requests Data from Trump Administration on Consequences of Texas V. United States PrevailingAug 1st, 2019 by U.S. Sen. Tammy Baldwin
Letter to Azar, Mnuchin Stresses Risk in Upending Health Care System, Need to Understand Ramifications if Obamacare is Gutted
U.S. Senators Tammy Baldwin and Josh Hawley Lead Bipartisan Effort to Restore Competitiveness to U.S. Exports, Boost American Manufacturers and FarmersJul 31st, 2019 by U.S. Sen. Tammy Baldwin
Bipartisan legislation would realign U.S. dollar to close trade deficit