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WATCH: Spanberger Urges Bipartisan Action to Lower Prescription Drug Costs, Calls for Lawmakers to Fight for Patients, Not Pharmaceutical Companies

Since Arriving in the U.S. House, the Congresswoman has Worked to Pass Bipartisan Legislation to Increase Transparency, Expand Competition, & Lower Costs

Washington, June 27, 2019

**VIDEO: Spanberger Calls on Both Political Parties & Both Chambers of Congress to Find Common Ground to Help Families, Children, & the Elderly**

 WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Representative Abigail Spanberger—as Co-Chair of a bipartisan prescription drug task force—today called on her colleagues in the U.S. House and U.S. Senate to work together to advance bipartisan legislation to combat the ongoing prescription drug affordability crisis in Central Virginia and across the country.

During a press conference alongside members of the bipartisan Problem Solvers Caucus, Spanberger announced her support for new principles to address rising prescription drug prices. These goals include fighting for greater transparency, competition, and affordability in the U.S. prescription drug marketplace. With this agreement, the 23 Democratic and 23 Republican Members of the Problem Solvers Caucus have now committed to support ongoing bipartisan and bicameral legislative efforts to crack down on high prescription drug costs. Click here to watch a video of her remarks.

During her remarks, Spanberger also stressed the importance of increasing transparency among pharmacy benefit managers (PBMs)—the third-party intermediaries between drug manufacturers, health insurers, and pharmacies. Earlier this year, Spanberger introduced and led a bipartisan bill to hold PBMs accountable and to help address one of the root causes of the prescription drug affordability crisis. In April 2019, her legislation passed unanimously out of the House Ways and Means Committee.

“As I meet with patients, providers, and employers across Central Virginia, I consistently hear stories about how the rising cost of medication is making it harder to pay the bills, cover the costs of food, and save for a secure retirement or their children’s education. In Congress, we need to pass legislation that works to fix our broken prescription drug marketplace—and that process begins by putting partisanship aside,” said Spanberger. “In developing these principles, we have come together as a bipartisan group of lawmakers to affirm that the American people—our constituents across the country—will benefit when we pursue transparency, competition, and affordability in prescription drug pricing. Agreeing on these principles is the first step in creating and passing bipartisan legislation that would help address one of the greatest economic and medical challenges facing Americans—and I’m proud to stand up for Central Virginia’s seniors, working families, and those with chronic conditions.”

Spanberger serves as Co-Chair of the Problem Solvers Caucus’ Drug Pricing Task Force alongside U.S. Representative Fred Upton (R-MI-06). Today’s press conference also included remarks from Problem Solvers Caucus Co-Chairs Tom Reed (R-NY-23) and Josh Gottheimer (D-NJ-05), along with U.S. Senators Susan Collins (R-ME) and Joe Manchin (D-WV).

The Spanberger-endorsed drug pricing principles are as follows:

  • We support access to medications for patients through more transparency, competition, and affordability in the U.S. prescription drug market.
  • We support price transparency standards that give patients, health care providers, and the federal government clear information about drug costs.
  • We believe drug manufacturers should have to disclose, in a way consumers and providers can understand, the price of treatment for advertised drugs and explanation of prices. 
  • We believe pharmacy benefit managers should have to disclose, in a way consumers and providers can understand, the discounts they receive from drug manufacturers that impact the cost of medications for patients.
  • We support patent transparency standards that help new drugs come to market as soon as possible.
  • We support competition among drug manufacturers that ensures continued R&D, makes drugs more affordable, and increases access for patients who need them. 
  • We believe in enforcement mechanisms that pave the way for new, more affordable drugs if other manufacturers do not comply with transparency standards or engage in anti-competitive behavior. 

BACKGROUND

Since arriving in the U.S. House, Spanberger has been fighting to address the prescription drug affordability crisis and to increase transparency in drug pricing. Last month, she joined a majority of the U.S. House in passing a bipartisan bill she cosponsored that would make it easier for Central Virginians to access lower-cost prescription drugs. The bill would prohibit pharmaceutical companies from participating in certain anti-competitive practices that block cheaper generic drugs from entering that market.

And 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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