We have to break the monopoly pricing power of the drug corporations and demand transparency from pharmacy benefit managers who run drug insurance programs.
The drug corporations try to scare us. It’s like extortion. They say that if we don’t pay their outrageous prices, they won’t develop new drugs. But the fact is that they are making so much money and wasting so much on marketing and advertising, we can have both innovation and lower prescription drug prices. And then we need to stop the secret deals by pharmacy benefit managers—the corporations that run prescription drug insurance programs—so we can be sure patients are being protected.
Medicare should be able to negotiate lower prices for patients.
Right now Medicare has to accept the price dictated by the drug company. Medicare can’t say no—no matter the cost. That must change so Medicare can use its purchasing leverage to negotiate for patients. A key starting point for negotiations should be an independent analysis of the value of a drug to patients.
Generic versions of drugs should be available sooner to compete with brand names.
Patents and exclusivity protections on brand name drugs extend too long. Then drug companies abuse the patent system to extend their exclusivity periods and prevent generic competition from coming to market. We must put an end to these abuses that hurt patients.
Pharmacy benefit managers—the companies that operate prescription drug insurance programs—should operate on behalf of patients to get lower prices.
But instead they insist on negotiating secret deals, so we can’t see how much they are keeping and how much savings are reaching patients and consumers. We need an end to secret rebates and complete transparency from pharmacy benefit managers.
We should require drug corporations to disclose how they set prices.
How much are they really spending on research and innovation? How much on marketing and advertising? How much on manufacturing and distribution? Once we know that, we can see if it is fair.
We must ensure drugs based on science paid for by taxpayers are priced to assure affordability and accessibility.
Taxpayers invested in the basic science behind all 356 drugs approved by the FDA from 2010-2019. We spend billions through the National Institutes of Health and when a drug shows promise, private companies swoop in to acquire the rights and then charge whatever the market will bear. We need to make sure taxpayer-funded drugs are priced to maximize public health — not private profits.