HENRICO, V.A. — Next week, U.S. Representative Abigail Spanberger will hold a prescription drug-focused, public town hall to hear from Central Virginians about how rising healthcare and prescription drug costs are directly impacting them.
At her prescription drug town hall on Monday, February 24, Spanberger will be joined by AARP Virginia State Director Jim Dau to answer questions from Goochland residents about trends and statistics related to high prescription drug costs in Central Virginia and across the country. In addition to hearing community members share their stories, Spanberger will also discuss some of her recent work and accomplishments in the U.S. House related to lowering the cost of prescription drugs.
The details for Spanberger’s Goochland prescription drug town hall are as follows:
WHEN: Monday, February 24, 2020 — 6:00pm-7:00pm ET
WHERE: Goochland Recreation Center, 2415 Sandy Hook Road, Goochland, VA 23063
“Over the past few years, the rising cost of prescription drugs has jeopardized the health and financial security of thousands of Central Virginia seniors and families. In conversation after conversation across our district, this problematic trend continues to be a top concern for our neighbors—and it’s shared by citizens across the country. But for too long, lawmakers have refused to take concrete steps to lower the outrageous prices of many lifesaving medications,” said Spanberger. “The personal stories of those struggling with high healthcare costs should motivate us to take immediate action. Next week, I look forward to hearing from Goochland residents about their experiences with skyrocketing drug costs—and I hope many of our neighbors will join us to learn more about ongoing efforts in Congress that would help increase competition in the pharmaceutical industry, demand accountability from drug-makers, and lower out-of-pocket costs for consumers.”
Since arriving in the U.S. House, Spanberger has made lowering drug costs for Central Virginians a top priority. In October 2019, the U.S. House voted 403 to 0 to pass Spanberger’s bipartisan legislation to help tackle the prescription drug affordability crisis, increase drug pricing transparency, and hold pharmacy benefit managers (PBMs) accountable. And in December 2019, Spanberger helped pass the Lower Drug Costs Now Act, which would help lower prices for Central Virginia seniors and families by giving Medicare Part D the power to negotiate directly with drug companies.
Spanberger’s prescription drug-focused town hall with be her second public town hall held in Goochland County and her second public, prescription drug-focused event since her swearing-in in January 2019. In November 2019, Spanberger convened a two-day healthcare tour across Virginia’s Seventh District. To close the tour, Spanberger hosted a community forum in Henrico County alongside AARP Virginia to discuss high prescription drug prices in Central Virginia and to discuss the recent passage of her legislation to expand transparency within the murky world of PBMs.
Last month, Spanberger launched her 2020 Prescription Drug Survey to gather direct feedback from her constituents on the growing crisis of prescription drug costs.
Over the past decade, rising drug costs have created tremendous financial certainty for seniors and families in Central Virginia and across the country. Between 2012 and 2017, the average annual cost of prescription drug treatments in Virginia increased by nearly 60 percent, while the annual income for Virginians only increased by 8.5 percent.
Spanberger’s Goochland prescription drug town hall builds on her work in the U.S. House to address the prescription drug affordability crisis, spur competition in the prescription drug industry, and increase transparency in drug pricing, including:
- Stopping practices that block generic alternatives from entering the consumer market. In October 2019, Spanberger introduced the bipartisan Biologic Patent Transparency Act, which would take a first step in stopping the practice of “patent gaming” and would seek to level the playing field for biosimilar drugs.
- Giving Medicare the power to negotiate drug prices. In January 2019, 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.
- Hearing directly from Central Virginians about their prescription drug-related challenges. During her two-day healthcare tour in November 2019, Spanberger held a prescription drug forum in Henrico County to hear the stories and concerns of Central Virginians related to high prescription drug costs. And in August 2019, she held a prescription drug roundtable with local families, providers, and pharmacists to focus on the economic and healthcare issues caused by overpriced prescription drugs. During the discussion, she heard concerns from patients and pharmacists about the influence of PBMs on the prescription drug marketplace.
- Addressing additional factors that impact the prices of prescription drugs. Last 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 effect change on these issues. Click here to watch the full press conference.