For Immediate Release
February 22, 2017
New Independent Patient Group to Fight Skyrocketing Drug Prices
Patients For Affordable Drugs will share stories of Americans struggling to afford prescriptions and mobilize patients to fight a rigged U.S. pricing system
Washington, D.C.— A new independent organization called Patients For Affordable Drugs kicked off a nationwide effort to lower prescription drug prices today. The organization, founded by a patient with an incurable blood cancer, will amplify the voices of Americans struggling under crushing drug prices to make policymakers and elected officials see the heavy toll of high priced drugs. Patients For Affordable Drugs will educate, activate and mobilize patients in support of policy changes to drive down prices, and will issue analyses on drug pricing trends. Patients For Affordable Drugs will not accept contributions from any organizations that profit from the development or distribution of prescription drugs.
“Drug corporations tell us if we don’t pay their outrageous prices, they won’t develop the new drugs people need,” said Patients For Affordable Drugs founder, David Mitchell. “But that’s just a form of extortion as if someone put a gun to your head and said ‘give me all your money or I’ll pull the trigger.’ The fact is—between enormous profits and millions wasted on drug advertising and marketing—there is room to deliver innovation and new drugs at lower prices.”
Mitchell, 66, was diagnosed six years ago with an incurable blood cancer called multiple myeloma. Mitchell’s drugs cost $26,000 every month, and he is grateful they are keeping him alive. “But drugs should not come at prices that bankrupt and ruin people’s lives,” he said.
Studies have documented that virtually every major patient group in the U.S. takes funding from drug companies. Patients For Affordable Drugs will stand alone—refusing donations from drug companies, their foundations, or any other organizations that profit from the development and distribution of prescription drugs.
“Most patient groups take the big drug companies’ money to do important work like patient education and support,” Mitchell said. “But on the issue of drug prices, they are not serving their members. We aim to fill that void.”
Patients For Affordable Drugs offers several solutions to the problem of high-cost drugs, including:
- Breaking the monopoly power of drug companies by allowing Medicare to negotiate lower costs for patients.
- Speeding generics to market to enable greater competition.
- Requiring drug corporations to disclose how they set prices if a drug is invented using taxpayer funding.
- Disclosing secret deals made by pharmacy benefit managers who run prescription drug insurance programs.
- Setting prices based on the value drugs deliver to patients.
The new organization will be built around an organizing hub—patientsforaffordabledrugs.org. It will employ social media models used by advocacy groups to collect patient stories and amplify those stories to elected officials and policymakers. And it will gather email addresses to build a community of patients to stand up for change.
Patients For Affordable Drugs received a grant from the Laura and John Arnold Foundation. Mitchell donates his time, and he and his wife Nicole—a breast cancer survivor—also contribute to the effort.