We are making real progress toward breaking the monopoly pricing power of the drug corporations and getting greater transparency from pharmacy benefit managers (PBMs) who run drug insurance programs.
We helped pass the Inflation Reduction Act in spite of vicious opposition from Big Pharma. It stops price gouging on existing drugs by limiting annual price increases to no more than the rate of inflation, caps annual out-of-pocket costs for Medicare Part D at $2,000, and requires, for the first time, Medicare to negotiate on some of the costliest drugs.
We supported the current extensive inquiry by the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) into the practices of pharmacy benefit managers, which will provide both transparency and a foundation for possible legislation to ensure PBMs operate in the interests of patients and consumers.
There’s still more to do to reform a system that is built to benefit the people who profit from it rather than people it is supposed to serve. These are our priorities.
We must address launch prices–especially for new cell and gene therapies.
The Inflation Reduction Act targets older drugs. But some of the highest prices are coming on new drugs — especially cell and gene therapies. We have to address launch prices to ensure we balance the need for fair profits while ensuring accessibility and affordability.
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 will build on the FTC’s current inquiry to advance needed reforms.
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. We support bipartisan legislation in Congress to address these issues.
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.