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U.S. House Passes Bipartisan Bill Spanberger Cosponsored to Lower Prescription Drug Costs, Improve Access to Generic Drugs

The CREATES Act Would Block Pharmaceutical Companies from Engaging in Practices that Prevent Competition in the Pharmaceutical Marketplace

Washington, May 16, 2019

WASHINGTON, D.C. — U.S. Representative Abigail Spanberger today joined a majority of the U.S. House of Representatives in passing a bipartisan bill she cosponsored that would make it easier for Central Virginians to access lower-cost prescription drugs.

As part of a package of healthcare-related bills passed in the House today, Spanberger helped pass the Creating and Restoring Equal Access to Equivalent Samples (CREATES) Act of 2019, which she cosponsored last month. The bipartisan bill would prohibit pharmaceutical companies from participating in certain anti-competitive practices that block cheaper generic drugs from entering that market.

“As I travel across Central Virginia, I consistently hear working families, the elderly, and those with chronic conditions express deep concerns about the rising cost of prescription drugs. As we begin to tackle the factors that make prescription drugs increasingly unaffordable, we must address the predatory practices of pharmaceutical companies—including their efforts to stifle competition and slow the approval process for generic drugs,” said Spanberger. “Today, I’m proud to help pass the CREATES Act in the House, because this bipartisan legislation would level the playing field for generic drugs in the United States, and a solution to this problem is long overdue. By making it harder for pharmaceutical companies to block generics from coming to market, this bill would improve access to affordable prescription medication for more Central Virginians. Going forward, I’ll press for the Senate to fully take up this important legislation, and I’ll keep fighting to bring down healthcare costs for all Americans.”

The Spanberger-supported legislation would increase competitive options for prescription drugs by cracking down on pharmaceutical companies’ ability to delay access to generic versions of expensive brand-name drugs.

Specifically, the CREATES Act would allow generic manufacturers facing delay tactics to bring action in federal court to obtain the samples they need—and  courts would be authorized to award monetary damages sufficient to deter future gaming of the healthcare system. Additionally, the bill addresses another anti-competitive practice in which brand-name drug companies may prevent generics and biosimilars from participating in the process to develop a Food and Drug Administration (FDA)-approved shared safety protocol. The CREATES Act would allow the FDA to approve alternative safety protocols that meet the same rigorous standards.

The CREATES Act is endorsed by the Association for Accessible Medicines, the American College of Physicians, the American Hospital Association, the Campaign for Sustainable Rx Pricing, and America’s Health Insurance Plans. The legislation is also supported by consumer groups including AARP, the Consumers Union, and Public Citizen.

The CREATES Act is led by U.S. Representatives David Cicilline (D-RI), Jim Sensenbrenner (R-WI), Jerrold Nadler (D-NY), Doug Collins (R-GA), Peter Welch (D-VT), and David McKinley (R-WV).

Background

Since arriving in the U.S. House, Spanberger has been fighting to address the prescription drug affordability crisis and increase transparency in drug pricing. Last month, Spanberger introduced and led a bipartisan bill to hold third-party intermediaries accountable and help address the root causes of the prescription drug affordability crisis. Her legislation passed unanimously out of the House Ways and Means Committee.

In January, she helped introduce the Medicare Negotiation and Competitive Licensing Act, which would authorize the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services to negotiate directly with pharmaceutical providers within Medicare Part D to help lower costs.

Spanberger is also focused on addressing additional factors that impact the prices of prescription drugs. Earlier this year, Spanberger helped introduce and pass landmark campaign finance and ethics reform legislation that would strengthen transparency in the U.S. political system and limit the influence of special interests—including pharmaceutical companies. During a press conference prior to the passage of the legislation, she shared the story of Central Virginians concerned about rising prescription drug prices—and she stressed why increased transparency would restore faith in the democratic process and the ability of Members of Congress to affect change on these issues. Click here to watch the full press conference.

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