The Issue

The prescription drug pricing system in the U.S. is rigged against patients. We are fighting to change that.

Prescription drug prices are out of control. The drug corporations have literally rigged the system to have monopoly pricing power—spending billions to get the laws and regulations that benefit them. They’ve spent $2 billion on lobbying in Washington since 2003.

The cornerstone of their pricing power is a law that says Medicare can’t bargain directly on prices. Instead, the drug corporations dictate prices to Medicare. Once the price is set for Medicare it ripples down the whole health care system, and lots of people get a piece of the action. Pharmacy Benefit Managers who run prescription drug insurance programs make more working off the higher initial price. Hospitals and doctors get percentage mark-ups. But the rest of us—patients, consumers, and taxpayers—get stuck paying the bill.

The costs can be crushing for patients. Out-of-pocket costs for some specialty drugs under Medicare can run as high as $15,000 per year or more, while the median income for Medicare beneficiaries is less than $26,200 a year.

Whether it’s expensive new specialty drugs or the insanity of doubling or tripling prices for old brand name drugs, it’s an outrage and we can stop it.

In fighting for change, we recognize that communities of color are more likely to face high prescription drug prices associated with diseases like cancer, diabetes, and asthma. As an organization dedicated to lowering drug prices, we cannot ignore the fact that racism is an insidious, systemic force that touches every part of our society, including drug pricing. We refuse to accept that status quo. We are fighting to fix the broken system.

Patients skip taking their drugs or ration their medications in order to delay the cost of renewing their prescriptions. As a result, they suffer complications of their chronic conditions, a lower quality of life and greater medical expenses in the long run. Their negotiating power could save significant amounts for the system as a whole as well as for our patients.

John Meigs, Jr., MD, President, American Academy of Family Physicians
September 2016

The Mission

Patients For Affordable Drugs is the only national patient advocacy organization exclusively focused on lowering prescription drug prices.


  • empower and mobilize patients and allies,
  • hold accountable those in power and
  • fight to shape and achieve system-changing policies that make prescription drugs affordable for all people in the United States.

We do not accept funding from organizations that profit from the development or distribution of prescription drugs.

Our Vision

Every person in the United States can get the prescription drugs they need at prices they can afford.

Our Stories

Elected officials and policymakers need to hear our stories. We need your help to share them. More stories


Patients For Affordable Drugs is the only independent national patient organization focused exclusively on achieving policy changes to lower the price of prescription drugs.