FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Wednesday, September 25, 2019

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Health Care Voter Calls for Bold Action on Drug Prices

Pelosi Bill is a Positive Step Forward 

Today, Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi and members of Congress joined Health Care Voter and other health care advocates to discuss the right path forward to lower prescription drug prices, and applauded Speaker Pelosi’s bill as a positive step forward.  

This year, more than 3,400 drugs have seen price increases. Advocates agree: a first step toward actually lowering drug cost is to allow Medicare officials to negotiate with drug companies. If Medicare officials have the power to negotiate directly with drug companies to lower prescription drug prices for Americans—including people who have insurance through their employer, Healthcare.gov, and more—drug prices will go down. This isn’t the only solution, but a positive step in the right direction. 

Advocates came together and discussed how any serious proposal to lower the cost of prescription drugs must take the power away from drug corporations and put the lives of American people over corporate profits: 

“For years now, we have been hearing from patients and folks across the country the same thing over and over again: they are struggling to afford their prescription drugs,” said Health Care Voter Campaign Director Rosemary Enobakhare. “Which is why we are here today: to fight to protect the ACA, to lower prescription drug costs—particularly insulin—and to hold our representatives accountable for the actions they take on these measures. Any serious proposal to lower prescription drug costs must end the ban on Medicare negotiations, and we fully stand behind Speaker Pelosi in her fight to get this done.”

“Negotiations is a huge step in the right direction. Not only will those on Medicare pay less under this plan, but the lower costs would apply to all people who purchase these drugs whether or not they are covered by Medicare,” said Lower Drug Prices NOW Campaign Director Margarida Jorge. “In the House Democrats’ bill, drug prices would go down for those who get insurance from employers or buy it directly from insurance companies. Big pharma companies would finally face penalties and prohibitions from rampant price gouging that puts medicine out of reach for too many people.”

“We hear story after story of people rationing drugs, skipping doses, and having to decide between taking their prescriptions and putting food on the table. This needs to end. The American people have been waiting on Congress for relief from sky-high prescription drug prices for years,” said Brad Woodhouse, Health Care Voter Co-Chair and President of Protect our Care. “There is an easy solution to this. Lift the ban and let Medicare negotiate with drug companies—on behalf of all Americans.

“My son will die without his medications—and drug companies know that. They charge so much because they can, and we are not given a choice in the matter,” said Tasha Nelson, an advocate with Little Lobbyists and the mother of a young boy with cystic fibrosis. “Congress needs to fix this. We need bold action to take on the pharmaceutical companies so my son doesn’t have to live with this financial burden his whole life.”

“The United States is the only developed country in the world whose government doesn’t negotiate for lower drug prices,” said Isaiah Cochran, MD, National President of the American Medical Student Association. “Americans are spending way too much on their health care, and it’s no surprise that we pay more for prescription drugs than any other developed country. Congress has the power to lift the ban on Medicare negotiations, and this plan delivers on the promise Democrats made in 2018 to reduce the cost of drugs and take on the big drug companies.”

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