Bob Fowler is a college professor from North Ridgeville, Ohio who lives with the blood cancer multiple myeloma. Three years after his diagnosis in 2006, he was put on Celgene’s medication, Revlimid. He was shocked to learn that one 28-day cycle of Revlimid costs his insurance company $13,600 for a total of $177,000 per year — an expense he worries will fall on him when he retires in the next couple of years.
Bob has taken his outrage with the cost of his Revlimid and used it to speak out on behalf of all patients. Home in Ohio, Bob testified in front of the Ohio House Government Accountability and Oversight Committee in favor of House Bill 479. The bill banned pharmacy benefit managers from including gag clauses in their contracts with pharmacies. Ohio went on to lead an aggressive campaign in opposition to PBMs. Bob’s voice was a big part of that success.
Bob hasn’t limited his work to Ohio. Last year he advocated in support of the Creating and Restoring Equal Access to Equivalent Samples (CREATES) Act of 2019, a common-sense solution to stop drug companies from blocking cheaper generics by abusing a FDA safety protocol call the Risk Evaluation Mitigation Strategies (REMS). Celgene utilizes REMS to block generics of Revlimid from coming to market. Bob spoke with his Senator’s staff about supporting the bill. Just last week, CREATES was reintroduced to the Senate with support from 28 bipartisan cosponsors.
Bob is a February Price Fighting Hero because of his steadfast commitment to fighting for lower drug prices for Ohioans and Americans alike. His voice and advocacy are to be admired.
Over the last few months, P4AD has honored FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb, multiple sclerosis patient Victoria Stuessel, the former Administrator of CMS Andy Slavitt, metastatic breast cancer patient and advocate Becky Hall, Nevada State Senator Yvanna Cancela, T1International founder Elizabeth Rowley, Oregon State Senator Linthicum, and dry eye patient and advocate Ann Neilson, US Senator Amy Klobuchar, and Crohn’s patient Leah Clark.
Patients For Affordable Drugs’ Price Fighting Heroes is a series highlighting advocates in the fight to lower prescription drug prices. We will honor patients, private sector leaders, policy makers, and elected officials who are advocating for patients and fighting for lower drug prices. In doing so, we hope to encourage others to join the fight and continue their good work. We plan to feature our heroes on our social media accounts and blog, lift up their stories in the media and honor them at an event in 2019. If you have someone you want to nominate as a hero, you can do so here.