On Thursday, President Biden will travel to Virginia to join U.S. Representative Abigail Spanberger (D-VA-07) and discuss the urgent need to drive down drug prices for the American people. Democrats are continuing to fight tirelessly to pass the legislation to give Medicare the power to negotiate, rein in Big Pharma’s greed, and lower prescription drug prices for millions of people across the country. Voters across the political spectrum support Democrats’s drug pricing measures and are demanding lawmakers get this done.
The Build Back Better Act is a historic plan that will bring down prescription drug prices so people can afford the medicines they need. Build Back Better gives Medicare the power to negotiate lower drug prices, ensures no senior pays more than $2,000 a year for their prescriptions, and protects every American from egregious price increases for the drugs they need to survive. No matter what form the final bill takes, it is clear that Build Back Better’s drug pricing measures must remain fully intact.
For 20 years, big drug companies have been able to dictate the price that Americans pay for prescription drugs and 2022 has been no exception. In January alone, Big Pharma hiked the prices of more than 740 drugs. The medications seeing the biggest increases are the very drugs already raking in blockbuster profits for drugmakers, with 11 of the 15 top selling drugs experiencing large increases. A shocking 93 percent of the drugs with growing price tags saw price hikes higher than the projected rate of inflation for 2023. This shameless greed by Big Pharma means patients can’t afford what they need to stay healthy, but that status-quo ends with Build Back Better. Reining in Big Pharma’s greed will reduce racial inequities in health care, improve the health and well-being of seniors and people with disabilities, strengthen families, and save lives.
Here Are The Three Main Ways Build Back Better Will Drive Down Drug Prices For Patients:
1) Giving Medicare The Power To Negotiate Lower Drug Prices. For nearly 20 years, Medicare has been banned from negotiating the price of prescription drugs, and Big Pharma has been able to dictate prices while Americans pay three times more for their medications than people in other countries. Under Build Back Better, Medicare will be empowered to negotiate prices for select drugs purchased at the pharmacy counter and administered at a doctor’s office. Beginning in 2025, 10 drugs, in addition to insulin, will be negotiated with that number increasing to 20 drugs in 2028 and into the future. Drug companies who refuse to come to the negotiating table will be subject to an excise tax.
2) Protecting Insulin Access For Millions With Diabetes. Starting in 2023, insulin products will also be negotiated. Under Build Back Better, all Americans with insurance will see their insulin co-pays capped at $35 each month. Currently, as many as one in four of the 7.5 million Americans dependent on insulin are skipping or skimping on doses, which can lead to death. The insulin provisions in Build Back Better are expected to provide savings to millions of insulin users across the country.
3) Putting An End To Runaway Price Increases. Build Back Better stops Big Pharma from raising prices faster than the rate of inflation. For example, Humira, a medication commonly used to treat rheumatoid arthritis, is one of the nation’s highest revenue generating drugs, raking in $21 billion in sales in 2019. AbbVie, Humira’s manufacturer, has hiked the price of Humira more than 25 times, including in January 2022 when it raised its cost by 7.4 percent, bringing the price up a staggering $441, creating a cost of $6,409 for a single month’s supply. This cap would apply to all Americans, and is essential to stop arbitrary price increases on essential medications. Over the past 20 years, price increases for brand-name drugs in Medicare Part D have risen at more than twice the rate of inflation.
4) Capping Out-Of-Pocket Spending For Seniors. Seniors with serious conditions like cancer, multiple sclerosis, and rheumatoid arthritis could save thousands of dollars on prescriptions under the Build Back Better Act. Medicare Part D out-of-pocket costs for prescription drugs will be capped at $2,000 per year. The redesign of Medicare Part D will also allow out-of-pocket spending to be smoothed over the course of the year, so patients are not forced to pay the entirety of their out-of-pocket cost at the beginning of the year.