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IN THE NEWS: Protect Our Care Launches Reduce Drug Prices Campaign

This week, Protect Our Care launched The Campaign to Reduce Drug Prices, a significant seven-figure investment to demonstrate the urgent need for comprehensive legislation to lower drug prices. The campaign includes research, paid and earned media, and grassroots and grasstops engagement. At its core, it will showcase real people who are struggling to afford life-saving prescriptions and what skyrocketing drug prices mean for them and their families. Americans pay three times more for drugs as people in other countries, forcing millions to choose between lifesaving prescriptions and other basic necessities like buying groceries or paying rent.

Protect Our Care kicked off The Campaign to Reduce Drug Prices with a national television ad that will also run digitally in 12 key states. The campaign will target Alaska, Arizona, Florida, Georgia, Maine, New Hampshire, New Jersey, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, West Virginia, and Wisconsin.  

Read coverage of the campaign kickoff here:

Politico Pulse: FIRST IN PULSE: DEMOCRAT-ALIGNED GROUP LAUNCHES DRUG PRICING PUSH.

  • “Just as Pelosi begins to face resistance within her caucus, the health care advocacy group Protect Our Care will debut a national TV and digital ad campaign calling for the passage of drug price legislation like H.R. 3 (117). The seven-figure ad buy specifically advocates allowing Medicare to negotiate the cost of medicines — a measure that’s at the center of Pelosi’s drug bill.” [Politico, 5/12/21]

(FL) Florida Politics: Last Call for 5.12.21 — A Prime-Time Read of What’s Going Down in Florida Politics.

  • “Protect Our Care Florida says legislation to lower prescription drug costs is urgently needed, and it’s taking the message to the airwaves. The aptly titled “Campaign to Reduce Drug Prices” is backed by a seven-figure investment that will include research, paid and earned media, and grassroots and grasstops engagement. The campaign announcement said the ads will showcase the effects skyrocketing drug prices are having on real people and their families.” [Florida Politics, 5/12/21]

(NH) New Hampshire Union Leader: Granite Status: Dollars Fly as Congress Works Toward Drug Pricing Bill.

  • “Protect Our Care, a liberal advocacy group focused on health care, launched what it described as a “seven-figure effort” on Wednesday, unleashing ads and a campaign to engage activists in support of the drug-price negotiation bill. That group plans to focus its message on the problem of high drug prices, arguing the issue has support from Republican and Democratic voters.” [New Hampshire Union Leader, 5/12/21]

(NJ) Insider NJ: NEW: Protect Our Care New Jersey Launches Campaign on Dire Need To Lower Drug Prices With Digital Ads.

  • “Protect Our Care is kicking off The Campaign to Reduce Drug Prices with a national television ad that underscores President Biden’s commitment to reducing drug prices and conveys the urgency for lawmakers to act now and give Medicare the power to negotiate with drug companies for lower prices. The ad will begin running on cable news channels this week.” [Insider NJ, 5/13/21]

(WI) WisPolitics.com: Protect Our Care: Launches Campaign on Dire Need To Lower Drug Prices With Digital Ads.

  • “The campaign follows recent polling released by Protect Our Care that found broad and deep support among voters for addressing skyrocketing prescription drug prices. Voters across the political spectrum overwhelmingly support Democrats’ proposal to give Medicare the power to negotiate for lower drug prices for all Americans — the single most effective way to bring down drug prices. Policies to reduce drug prices will help seniors, women, children, and communities of color.” [WisPolitics, 5/12/21]

NEW VIDEO: Protect Our Care Releases New Video With Patients Across the Country Calling for Action on Skyrocketing Drug Prices

Watch the Video Here

Washington, D.C. — As part of The Campaign to Reduce Drug Prices, Protect Our Care released a new video featuring health care storytellers from across the country emphasizing the impact of high prescription drug prices and calling on Congress to take action on this urgent issue. Voters across the political spectrum overwhelmingly support Democrats’ proposal, the Elijah E. Cummings Lower Drug Costs Now Act (H.R. 3), which gives Medicare the power to negotiate for lower drug prices for all Americans, not just those on Medicare. President Biden reaffirmed his commitment to giving Medicare the power to negotiate for lower drug prices last month. 

Yesterday, Protect Our Care launched The Campaign to Reduce Drug Prices, a significant seven-figure investment to demonstrate the urgent need for comprehensive legislation to lower drug prices.

“High drug prices hurt real people. Year after year, drug companies raise the price of existing drugs like insulin, with no reason other than that they can. Americans pay three times more for drugs as people in other countries, and millions are forced to choose between lifesaving prescriptions and other basic necessities like buying groceries or paying rent.” said Protect Our Care Chair Leslie Dach. “H.R. 3 would finally put an end to Big Pharma’s rigged system by including the single most effective way to lower drug prices: giving Medicare the power to negotiate on behalf of all Americans. As the nation recovers from the pandemic and economic crisis, there has never been a more critical time to provide real relief for American families and finally combat skyrocketing drug prices.”

NEW: Protect Our Care Launches Campaign on Dire Need To Lower Drug Prices With National TV Ad

The Seven-Figure Campaign Will Include Ads and Activities in 12 Key States

Washington, D.C. — Today, Protect Our Care is launching The Campaign to Reduce Drug Prices, a significant seven-figure investment to demonstrate the urgent need for comprehensive legislation to lower drug prices. The campaign will include research, paid and earned media, and grassroots and grasstops engagement. At its core, it will showcase real people who are struggling to afford life-saving prescriptions and what skyrocketing drug prices mean for them and their families. Americans pay three times more for drugs as people in other countries, forcing millions to choose between lifesaving prescriptions and other basic necessities like buying groceries or paying rent.

Protect Our Care is kicking off The Campaign to Reduce Drug Prices with a national television ad that underscores President Biden’s commitment to reducing drug prices and conveys the urgency for lawmakers to act now and give Medicare the power to negotiate with drug companies for lower prices. The ad will begin running on cable news channels this week.

The ad will also run digitally in 12 key states. Protect Our Care’s campaign will target Alaska, Arizona, Florida, Georgia, Maine, New Hampshire, New Jersey, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, West Virginia, and Wisconsin.     

The campaign follows recent polling released by Protect Our Care that found broad and deep support among voters for addressing skyrocketing prescription drug prices. Voters across the political spectrum overwhelmingly support Democrats’ proposal to give Medicare the power to negotiate for lower drug prices for all Americans — the single most effective way to bring down drug prices. Policies to reduce drug prices will help seniors, women, children, and communities of color.

Already in the last week, Protect Our Care organized nine events nationwide featuring House Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Frank Pallone (D-NJ-06), U.S. Representatives Tom O’Halleran (D-AZ-01) and Darren Soto (D-FL-09), state and local elected officials, and health care storytellers to emphasize the impact of high prescription drug prices and to call for Congress to take action on this urgent issue. 

“Americans should not have to pay three times more for medicines than people in other countries. Prescription drug prices in this country are outrageous and unfair, and it’s time to provide long-overdue relief to American families. Millions of Americans are forced to choose between paying for the medicines they need to live or paying for food or rent, while drug companies make huge profits.” said Protect Our Care Chair Leslie Dach. “Overwhelming majorities of voters across parties agree that Medicare should have the power to negotiate for lower drug prices for all Americans. Protect Our Care will make sure people know which of their elected officials are supporting these efforts to bring down drug prices, and which ones are committed to protecting Big Pharma’s profits. As the country recovers from the economic and health crisis, American families cannot wait. The time to act is now. ” 

Script for national ad (:60): 

Nearly 20 years ago, Congress banned Medicare from negotiating lower prices for prescription drugs

(and) We’ve paid the price

Americans pay nearly 3-times more for the same drugs as people in other countries

Families and seniors have to choose between buying medicines or paying rent

But it doesn’t have to be this way.

President Biden: “We have to change that and we can.”

Congress can act now to give Medicare the power to negotiate lower prescription drug prices.

Lower prices for everyone – people on Medicare and people who aren’t.

More than 8-in-10 Americans agree, including a majority of Republicans.

President Biden: “Let’s give Medicare the power to save hundreds of billions of dollars by negotiating lower prescription drug prices.”

President Biden: “It’s within our power to do it. Let’s do it now. We’ve talked about it long enough – Democrats and Republicans. Let’s get it done this year.”

BACKGROUND:

The Time To Act Is Now: Lower Drug Prices For All Americans 

Protect Our Care, Elected Officials, Advocates Call for Congressional Action to Lower Prescription Drug Prices

U.S. Representatives Frank Pallone (D-NJ-06), Tom O’Halleran (D-AZ-01), Darren Soto (D-FL-09), Headlined Events in Arizona, Florida, Georgia, Maine, New Jersey, North Carolina, Ohio, West Virginia

In the last week, Protect Our Care organized nine events nationwide featuring House Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Frank Pallone (D-NJ-06), U.S. Representatives Tom O’Halleran (D-AZ-01) and Darren Soto (D-FL-09), state and local elected officials, and health care storytellers to emphasize the impact of high prescription drug prices and to call for Congress to take action on this urgent issue. Dr. Al Gross will headline an event in Alaska later today.

In 2019, House Democrats passed the Lower Drug Costs Now Act (H.R. 3), bold legislation to give Medicare the power to negotiate for lower drug costs — the single most effective measure to bring down drug prices. In April, House Democrats reintroduced this legislation, giving Congress another opportunity to lower prescription drug costs, and meet the demands of voters.

Highlights and coverage from Protect Our Care’s events:

ARIZONA

Thursday, April 29, 2021 — Lower Rx Drug Costs Virtual Event with Rep. Tom Halleran, State Rep. Fernandez, AZ Public Health Association, and Advocates: Congressman Tom O’Halleran, Representative Charlene Fernandez, Arizona Public Health Association Executive Director Will Humble, and Max Fisher, a Tucson Resident and Type 1 Diabetes Patient, joined Protect Our Care Arizona for a virtual press conference to call on Congress to take action to lower prescription drug costs for Americans. For too long the system has been rigged in favor of drug companies, and it’s time to put patients, not profits, first. Lowering prescription drug costs remains a priority for Arizonans and patients across the country. “Skyrocketing costs for prescription drugs have forced Arizona seniors, veterans, and families to make a choice between life-saving medications and putting food on the table,” Congressman O’Halleran said. “There is no reason hard-working Americans should pay three or four times more for their drugs than the same drugs in other countries. That was highlighted by the President in his speech last night.” You can watch the event here.

FLORIDA

Friday, May 7, 2021 — Lower Rx Drug Costs Virtual Event with Rep. Darren Soto, State Rep. Janet Cruz, and Advocates: Rep. Darren Soto (D-FL-09), State Senator Janet Cruz (SD-18), and local advocates joined Protect Our Care Florida for a virtual press conference to call on Congress to take action to lower prescription drug costs for Americans. On the call, legislators and local patient advocates will make the case that for too long the system has been rigged in favor of drug companies, and it’s time to put patients, not profits, first. You can watch the event here.

GEORGIA

Thursday May 6, 2021 — Lower Rx Drug Costs Virtual Event with State Rep. Matthew Wilson and Advocates: State Representative Matthew Wilson and Nedra Fortson, a nurse practitioner,  joined Protect Our Care Georgia for a virtual press conference to call on Congress to take action to lower prescription drug costs for Americans. For too long the system has been rigged in favor of drug companies, and it’s time to put patients, not profits, first. Lowering prescription drug costs remains a priority for Georgians and patients across the country. “We have Georgians that are taking their healthcare into their own hands against the advice of their doctors all because they cannot afford to fill their prescription drugs, said State Representative Matthew Wilson, “Fortunately, we have a common-sense solution sitting right in front of us, H.R. 3, that would allow Medicare to negotiate prescription drug prices. And studies have shown that this is the most effective thing we can do to lower drug prices. It’s an easy fix. But it requires bold leadership.” You can watch the event here.

MAINE

Thursday May 6, 2021 — Lower Rx Drug Costs Press Call with Sen. President Troy Jackson, National Alliance for Mental Health Maine, and Advocates: Maine Senate President Troy Jackson, health care providers and local advocates will join Protect Our Care Maine for a press call to urge Congress to take action to lower prescription drug costs for Americans. For too long the system has been rigged in favor of drug companies, and it’s time to put patients, not profits, first. Lowering prescription drug costs remains a priority for Mainers and patients across the country. Senate President Troy Jackson stressed that, “Our elected officials in Congress should be pushing back all the time against the greed of big Pharma.” He went on to say that, “We’ve taken it on here in [the] Maine [legislature]…and the idea is to get these state bills passed and keep coming down on Washington, with more and more states putting these bills in to where they finally are so embarrassed and go ahead and do the right thing.[…] It’s way past time. They are making money hand over fist, the greed of Pharma is uncontrolled and it’s affecting everyday Americans to the point where this is a national crisis.[…] Enough is enough.” You can listen to the call here.

Coverage:

Maine Public Radio: Mainers Pushing for Federal Law That Would Allow Medicare to Negotiate Lower Drug Prices

NEW JERSEY

Tuesday, May 4, 2021 — Lower Rx Drug Costs Virtual Event with Rep. Frank Pallone and Advocates: Congressman Frank Pallone, Jr. (D-NJ-06), Dr. Aakash Shah, an emergency medicine physician, and Gretchen Landenburger, 68, a Medicare patient from Cape May, joined Protect Our Care New Jersey for a virtual press conference to call on Congress to take action to lower prescription drug costs for Americans. For too long the system has been rigged in favor of drug companies, and it’s time to put patients, not profits, first. “Americans pay more for prescription drugs than any other country in the world, and as a result too many New Jerseyans do not take their medications because of high costs,” said Rep. Pallone, chair of the House Energy and Commerce Committee. “This legislation will dramatically rein in costs by finally empowering the federal government to negotiate fair prescription drug prices with Big Pharma. It will also decrease consumers’ out-of-pocket costs and reduce Medicare and private health insurance premiums. This historic legislation finally levels the playing field, and I look forward to working with the Biden Administration to pass it into law.” You can watch the event here.

Coverage:
The Hill: Pallone Commits to Using ‘Whatever Vehicle I Can’ to Pass Democrats’ Drug Pricing Bill
Bloomberg Law: Drug Pricing Bill Could Be Added to Infrastructure, Pallone Says
New Jersey Spotlight News: Pallone Pushes Legislation Aimed at Lowering Prescription Drug Prices
Insider NJ: Pallone and Local Health Advocates Call on Congress to Lower Prescription Drug Prices for New Jerseyans
CBS 3 (CBS Philadelphia): NJ Congressman Hosts Virtual Call Calling on Congress to Lower Prescription Drug Prices

NORTH CAROLINA

Friday, May 7, 2021 — Lower Rx Drug Costs Virtual Event with State. Sen. Wiley Nickel, Little Lobbyists, and Advocates: State Senator Wiley Nickel, Little Lobbyists’ Stacy Staggs, and local advocates joined Protect Our Care North Carolina for a virtual press conference to call on Congress to take action to lower prescription drug costs for Americans. For too long the system has been rigged in favor of drug companies, and it’s time to put patients, not profits, first. You can watch the event here.

OHIO

Thursday May 6, 2021 — Lower Rx Drug Costs Virtual Event with State Rep. Allison Russo, Insulin for all Ohio, and Advocates: Ohio State Representative Allison Russo, John Kennedy with Insulin for All Ohio, and advocate Lourdes Barroso de Padilla joined Protect Our Care Ohio and For Our Future Ohio for a virtual press conference to call on Congress to take action to lower prescription drug costs for Americans. “I have been a type 1 diabetic going on 30 years now. To me, lowering the cost of prescription drugs, including insulin, is a moral issue,” said John Kennedy of Insulin for All Ohio, who then showed a vial of Insulin and remarked, “25 years ago, I could go into any pharmacy and buy a vial of insulin off the shelf for around 25 dollars. Today, without insurance, it would cost me between 250 and 350 dollars. That’s outrageous. As a result of that cost, one in four type 1 diabetics have had to ration their insulin supply, which leads to a lot of preventable complications and hospitalizations. In many cases, it has led to death. Congress is taking up the issue with HR 3. This bill, no doubt, will save lives.” You can watch the event here.

Coverage:

Statehouse News Bureau: Democrats Urge Congress to Pass Bill They Say Would Lower Drug Price

WTOL (CBS Toledo): Ohio Leaders, Advocates Call on Congress to Take Action to Lower Prescription Drug Costs for All Americans

WEWS (ABC Cleveland): Ohio Leaders and Advocates to Call for Congressional Action to Lower Prescription Drug Prices

WEST VIRGINIA

Thursday May 6, 2021 — Lower Rx Drug Costs Virtual Event with West Virginians for Affordable Healthcare, WV Citizen Action Group, Storytellers, and Advocates: West Virginia health care advocates and storytellers joined Protect Our Care, WV for a virtual press conference calling on Congress to take action to lower prescription drug costs for Americans. For too long the system has been rigged in favor of drug companies, and it’s time to put patients, not profits, first. “So many West Virginians are struggling just to keep a roof over their head and put food on their tables. They shouldn’t have to ration or go without life saving medications because they can’t afford them,” said Rusty Williams. Rusty is Kanawha County cancer survivor who advocates for accessible, affordable healthcare and lower prescription drug prices. You can watch the event here.

Coverage:

WOWK (CBS Huntington): West Virginians Call on Congress to Help Lower Prescription Drug Prices

WVNS (FOX Lewisburg): West Virginians Call on Congress to Help Lower Prescription Drug Prices

Upcoming event:

ALASKA:

Friday, May 7 at 10:00 am AKT, Dr. Al Gross, Joni Bruner, and Casey Kasort will join Protect Our Care Alaska for a virtual press conference to call on Congress to take action to lower prescription drug costs for Americans. For too long the system has been rigged in favor of drug companies, and it’s time to put patients, not profits, first. You can register for the event here.

TODAY: Protect Our Care to Host Events in Alaska, Florida, and North Carolina with Elected Officials and Health Care Advocates Calling for Congressional Action to Lower Prescription Drug Prices

Washington, DC — On Friday, May 7, 2021, U.S. Representative Darren Soto (D-FL-09), local elected officials and advocates will join Protect Our Care in Alaska, Florida, and North Carolina for virtual press conferences to call on Congress to take action to lower prescription drug costs for Americans. For too long the system has been rigged in favor of drug companies, and it’s time to put patients, not profits, first. Lowering prescription drug costs remains a priority for Alaskans, Floridians, and North Carolinians, and patients across the country. 

New polling shows that after addressing COVID-19, the top issue for voters is lowering health and drug costs, and 93% support giving Medicare the power to negotiate with drug companies for lower prices. In 2019, House Democrats passed the Lower Drug Costs Now Act (H.R. 3), bold legislation to give Medicare the power to negotiate for lower drug costs — the single most effective measure to bring down drug prices. In April, House Democrats reintroduced this legislation, giving Congress another opportunity to lower prescription drug costs, and meet the demands of voters.

FRIDAY EVENTS

FLORIDA

WHO:
U.S. Representative Darren Soto (D-FL-09)
State Sen. Janet Cruz
Meredith Ross, prescription drug pricing advocate
Christopher Clark, prescription drug pricing advocate
Emmabella Rudd, prescription drug pricing advocate

WHAT: Congressman Darren Soto, State Senator Janet Cruz, and Advocates Join Protect Our Care Florida to Call on Congress to Take Action to Lower Prescription Drug Costs for Americans

WHERE: Register for the Event Here

WHEN: Friday, May 7 at 10:00 AM ET

NORTH CAROLINA

WHO:
State Sen. Wiley Nickel
Stacy Staggs, President of Little Lobbyists North Carolina
Elke Millan, business owner who experienced high drug costs

WHAT: North Carolinians Call for Congressional Action to Lower Prescription Drug Prices

WHERE: Register for the Event Here

WHEN: Friday, May 7 at 10:00 AM ET

ALASKA

WHO:
Dr. Al Gross, orthopedic surgeon, 2020 U.S. Senate Candidate in Alaska
Joni Bruner, Alaska Grassroots Alliance, Member of the Alaska March On board
Kasey Casort, community organizer, lower drug cost advocate

WHAT: Dr. Al Gross and Advocates Join Protect Our Care Alaska to Call for Congressional Action to Lower Prescription Drug Prices

WHERE: Register for the Event Here

WHEN: Friday, May 7 at 10:00 AM AKT // 3:00 PM ET

TODAY Protect Our Care to Host Events in WV, OH, GA, ME with Elected Officials and Health Care Advocates Calling for Congressional Action to Lower Prescription Drug Prices

***MEDIA ADVISORY FOR THURSDAY, MAY 6, 2021***

TODAY: Protect Our Care to Host Events in WV, OH, GA, ME with Elected Officials and Health Care Advocates Calling for Congressional Action to Lower Prescription Drug Prices

Washington, DC — On Thursday, May 6, 2021 elected officials and local advocates will join Protect Our Care in West Virginia, Ohio, Georgia, and Maine for virtual press conferences to call on Congress to take action to lower prescription drug costs for Americans. For too long the system has been rigged in favor of drug companies, and it’s time to put patients, not profits, first. Lowering prescription drug costs remains a priority for West Virginians, Ohioans, Georgians, Mainers, and patients across the country. 

New polling shows that after addressing COVID-19, the top issue for voters is lowering health and drug costs, and 93% support giving Medicare the power to negotiate with drug companies for lower prices. In 2019, House Democrats passed the Lower Drug Costs Now Act (H.R. 3), bold legislation to give Medicare the power to negotiate for lower drug costs — the single most effective measure to bring down drug prices. In April, House Democrats reintroduced this legislation, giving Congress another opportunity to lower prescription drug costs, and meet the demands of voters.

THURSDAY EVENTS

WEST VIRGINIA

WHO

West Virginians for Affordable Healthcare 

West Virginia Citizen Action Group 

National Association of Social Workers WV

Protect Our Care WV

Mindy Salango, Type 1 diabetic who struggles to afford her insulin

Rusty Williams, cancer survivor who struggles with cost of medications

WHAT: West Virginians Call for Congressional Action to Lower Prescription Drug Prices

WHERE: Register for the Event Here

WHEN: Thursday, May 6, 2021 at 9:30 AM ET

OHIO

WHO:

State Rep. Allison Russo

John Kennedy, Insulin for All Ohio

Lourdes Barroso de Padilla, health care advocate

WHAT: Ohio Leaders and Advocates to Call for Congressional Action to Lower Prescription Drug Prices

WHERE: Register for the Event Here

WHEN: Thursday, May 6 at 11:00 AM ET

GEORGIA

WHO:
State Rep. Matthew Wilson
Whitney Griggs, Georgians for a Healthy Future
Nedra Fortson, MSN, AGPCNP-BC, MBA, RN, Nurse Practitioner
Himali Patel, small business owner reliant on life-saving prescription drugs 

WHAT: Representative Matthew Wilson, Protect Our Care Georgia, and Advocates Call for Congressional Action to Lower Prescription Drug Prices

WHERE: Register to join the Zoom event

WHEN: Thursday, May 6, 11:00 AM ET

MAINE

WHO:

Senate President Troy Jackson
Greg Marley, LCSW, National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) Maine
Marie Follayttar, Mainers for Accountable Leadership

WHAT: Press Call to Call for Congressional Action to Lower Prescription Drug Prices

WHERE: Dial-in: 877-229-8493; Pin: 114927

WHEN: Thursday, May 6 at 11:00 AM ET

HEADLINES: Chairman Pallone Commits to Using “Whatever Vehicle I Can” to Pass Medicare Negotiation

Yesterday, House Energy and Commerce Chairman Frank Pallone (D-NJ-06) and local health advocates joined Protect Our Care New Jersey for a virtual press conference to call on Congress to take action to lower prescription drug costs for Americans. Lowering prescription drug costs remains a priority for New Jerseyans and patients across the country. 

New polling shows that after addressing COVID-19, the top issue for voters is lowering health and drug costs, and 93% support giving Medicare the power to negotiate with drug companies for lower prices. Coverage confirms that Congressman Pallone and his Democratic colleagues are committed to delivering on their promise to stand up to Big Pharma and finally give Medicare the power to negotiate for lower drug prices for all Americans.

COVERAGE

The Hill: Pallone Commits to Using ‘Whatever Vehicle I Can’ to Pass Democrats’ Drug Pricing Bill. “House Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Frank Pallone Jr. (D-N.J.) on Tuesday said he would use ‘whatever vehicle I can’ to pass the Democrats’ drug pricing bill, known as H.R. 3, that would allow the federal government to negotiate for decreased prices on behalf of Medicare. Pallone joined health advocates from Protect Our Care New Jersey in calling for Congress to move forward with H.R. 3, or the Elijah E. Cummings Lower Drug Costs Now Act, to reduce prescription drug prices.” [The Hill, 5/4/21

Bloomberg Law: Drug Pricing Bill Could Be Added to Infrastructure, Pallone Says. “Rep. Frank Pallone, chair of the House Energy and Commerce Committee, says he’s open to including Democrats’ signature drug-pricing negotiation bill in the party’s economic and infrastructure package. Pallone tells reporters he’s ‘going to use whatever vehicle I can to get this done.’” [Bloomberg Law, 5/4/21

New Jersey Spotlight News: Pallone Pushes Legislation Aimed at Lowering Prescription Drug Prices. “On Tuesday, Rep. Frank Pallone called on Congress and the Biden administration to make cutting the cost of prescription drugs a top priority. Promoting his reintroduced legislation, the Lower Drug Costs Now Act — which stalled after passing in the House in 2019 — Pallone (D-6th) said the legislation would allow the federal government to negotiate prescription prices for Medicare based on the cost of the same pharmaceutical drugs in other western nations.” [NJ Spotlight News, 5/4/21

Insider NJ: Pallone and Local Health Advocates Call on Congress to Lower Prescription Drug Prices for New Jerseyans. “In 2019, House Democrats passed the Lower Drug Costs Now Act (H.R. 3), bold legislation to give Medicare the power to negotiate for lower drug costs — the single most effective measure to bring down drug prices. In April, Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Frank Pallone reintroduced this legislation, giving Congress another opportunity to lower prescription drug costs, and meet the demands of voters.” [Insider NJ, 5/4/21

Energy and Commerce Committee Holds Hearing on the Critical Need to Reduce Prescription Drug Prices

Democrats Advocate for Lower Drug Prices As Republicans Go to Bat for Big Pharma 

Washington, DC — Today, the House Energy and Commerce Health Subcommittee held a hearing on legislation to lower the cost of prescription drugs. The hearing, led by Energy and Commerce Chairman Frank Pallone (D-NJ-06) and Health Subcommittee Chairwoman Anna G. Eshoo (D-CA-18), focused on a number of proposals to bring down drug prices, including the Elijah E. Cummings Lower Drug Costs Now Act (H.R. 3). Democrats in the hearing made a strong and compelling case for giving Medicare the power to negotiate with drug companies for lower prices. Republicans, meanwhile, went to bat for Big Pharma which is enjoying record profits and is breaking records for the money it’s spending on K Street lobbyists to block any legislation to lower prices for patients. In response, Protect Our Care Chair Leslie Dach issued the following statement:

“We commend Chairman Pallone, Chairwoman Eshoo, and House Democrats for holding this important hearing on one of the biggest concerns for American families: the skyrocketing price of prescription drugs. Year after year, we see unjustified price hikes on lifesaving drugs like insulin and, even during the pandemic, drug companies have already raised the prices of more than a thousand medicines. It is unacceptable that Americans have to pay three times as much for drugs as people in other countries and downright wrong that people are forced to choose between taking their medicine and buying their groceries.

“H.R. 3 would finally put an end to Big Pharma’s greed by including the single most effective way to lower drug prices: giving Medicare the power to negotiate on behalf of all Americans. There has never been a more critical time to bring down drug prices, and today’s discussion sends a strong message that Democrats are laser-focused on delivering on their health care promises for the American people.” 

BACKGROUND:

Democrats’ Drug Pricing Proposal Would Save Taxpayers Nearly $500 Billion Over The Next 10 Years. Analyses from the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office and the CMS Office of the Actuary the bill confirmed it would reduce negotiated drug prices by as much as 55%– saving patients an estimated $158 billion over the next few years and decreasing deficits by $456 billion. 

H.R. 3 Could Save Patients Thousands Of Dollars On Costly Medications. The Center for American Progress calculated average savings for several drugs that would likely meet the criteria for negotiation under H.R. 3. In addition to achieving thousands of dollars in monthly savings on expensive treatments for conditions like cancer and multiple sclerosis, H.R. 3 would help lower the cost of insulin for some diabetics by more than $700 annually. 

Additional information on rising drug costs can be found here: The Time To Act Is Now: Lower Drug Prices For All Americans

Congressman Frank Pallone and Local Health Advocates Call on Congress to Lower Prescription Drug Prices for New Jerseyans

Congressman Frank Pallone (D-NJ-06) and Local Health Advocates Joined Protect Our Care New Jersey for a Virtual Press Conference to Call on Congress to Take Action to Lower Prescription Drug Costs for Americans

NEW JERSEY — Today, Congressman Frank Pallone (D-NJ-06) and local health advocates joined Protect Our Care New Jersey for a virtual press conference to call on Congress to take action to lower prescription drug costs for Americans. For too long the system has been rigged in favor of drug companies, and it’s time to put patients, not profits, first.

Lowering prescription drug costs remains a priority for New Jerseyans and patients across the country. New polling shows that after addressing COVID-19, the top issue for voters is lowering health and drug costs, and 93% support giving Medicare the power to negotiate with drug companies for lower prices.

In 2019, House Democrats passed the Lower Drug Costs Now Act (H.R. 3), bold legislation to give Medicare the power to negotiate for lower drug costs — the single most effective measure to bring down drug prices. In April, Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Frank Pallone reintroduced this legislation, giving Congress another opportunity to lower prescription drug costs, and meet the demands of voters.

“Americans pay more for prescription drugs than any other country in the world, and as a result too many New Jerseyans do not take their medications because of high costs,” Pallone said. “This legislation will dramatically rein in costs by finally empowering the federal government to negotiate fair prescription drug prices with Big Pharma. It will also decrease consumers’ out-of-pocket costs and reduce Medicare and private health insurance premiums. This historic legislation finally levels the playing field, and I look forward to working with the Biden Administration to pass it into law. I want to thank Protect Our Care and everyone who joined us today for highlighting why it’s so important we get this legislation across the finish line.”

Dr. Aakash Shah is an emergency medicine physician in New Jersey.

“I’ll never forget the day a patient asked whether his diabetes or high blood pressure would harm him more. He could only afford to take medications for one but not both, and wanted my advice to help him decide which. He was just one of many who have had to cut pills and skip doses because of their costs and at the expense of their health,” shared Dr. Shah. “As we look to rebuild and recover from this pandemic, our leaders have the chance to change exactly that – to make medications more affordable – by writing a policy prescription that I know my patients need now more than ever.”  

Gretchen Landenburger, 68, is a Medicare patient from Cape May, New Jersey. She is immunocompromised with chronic bronchitis and takes 10 different medications every day, including breathing treatments that can be very time consuming.

“I have been on Medicare since last year, and it doesn’t cover three of the medications I need most, which used to give me freedom from needing to be home for multiple daily treatments,” said Landenburger. “I now have to pay up to $10,000 per year in medications, not including the nearly $4,000 per month medication I need the most, which I simply cannot afford. Something needs to change, and it is time for Congress to lower prescription drug prices.”

You can watch the press conference here, and learn more about how the Lower Drug Costs Now Act (H.R. 3) will make prescription drugs more affordable here.