Spanberger Helps Introduce Legislation to Tackle Overpriced Prescription Drugs

Feb 08, 2019
Healthcare
Press

Bill Would Allow HHS to Negotiate Drug Prices within Medicare Part D, Help Foster Increased Competition in the Marketplace

WASHINGTON, D.C. — U.S. Representative Abigail Spanberger helped introduce legislation to address the prescription drug affordability crisis in Central Virginia and across the country.

According to a 2018 report from the U.S. Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee, prices of the 20 most-commonly prescribed brand-name drugs for seniors have increased at a rate approximately 10 times higher than the average annual rate of inflation over the past five years. And although 48 million fewer prescriptions were written for these drugs between 2012 and 2017, total sales revenue from these prescriptions increased by nearly $8.5 billion during that period.

Currently, the federal government cannot negotiate prescription drug prices within Medicare Part D to help lower costs. The Spanberger-backed legislation would authorize the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) to negotiate directly with pharmaceutical manufacturers.

“The cost of prescription drugs is an overwhelming burden for far too many Americans, especially our seniors on fixed incomes, and it’s unacceptable that Medicare can’t negotiate prescription drug prices,” said Spanberger. “I’m proud to help introduce legislation that would bring competition to the market and drive down prices by allowing Medicare to negotiate. This bill will help American seniors across the country—and is a strong first step in addressing the rising costs of prescription drugs.”

The Medicare Negotiation and Competitive Licensing Act would also allow the U.S. Secretary of HHS to oversee competitive licensing, should negotiation fail. This provision would authorize other manufacturers to produce a similar drug for Medicare, potentially leading to lower prices through marketplace competition.

Spanberger is an original co-sponsor of this legislation, which is led by U.S. Representative Lloyd Doggett (D-TX-35). The bill is endorsed by healthcare, labor, and retirement advocacy groups, including:

  • Alliance for Retired Americans,
  • American Federation of Labor and Congress of Industrial Organizations (AFL-CIO),
  • American Federation of Teachers,
  • Communication Workers of America,
  • American Federation of State, County, and Municipal Employees (AFSCME),
  • Center for Medicare Advocacy, and
  • Social Security Works

Earlier this week, Spanberger called on President Trump to prioritize legislative efforts that would help address the rising cost of prescription drugs for seniors in Central Virginia.

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