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Protect Our Care Unveils New Report During Press Call with Senator Welch Ahead of New Medicare Negotiation Guidance By Biden Administration

By June 29, 2023No Comments

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Washington, DC — Today, Protect Our Care announced the release of a new report on five drugs that may be selected for the initial round of negotiations through the Medicare Drug Price Negotiation Program during a press call headlined by U.S. Senator Peter Welch (D-VT). Tahir Amin, Co-Founder and Co-Executive Director of the Initiative for Medicines, Access & Knowledge, Robert Roach, Jr., President of the Alliance for Retired Americans, and Andrea Harris, Director of Policy Programs of Protect Our Care also joined the call to discuss the importance of giving Medicare the power to negotiate lower drug prices. 

Big drug companies are now turning to the courts to try to dismantle the Negotiation Program because they didn’t get their way after spending a record $372 million lobbying Congress in 2022. Drug company giants Merck and Bristol Myers Squibb, as well as mega lobbying groups, PhRMA, and the US Chamber of Commerce, have sued the federal government in an effort to stop Medicare from negotiating lower prescription drug prices and giving seniors the breathing room they need. Republican lawmakers have also introduced legislation to repeal the prescription drug provisions of the Inflation Reduction Act in order to line the pockets of drug company executives and raise costs on patients.

“The pricing power of Pharma has been abused, absolutely, from beginning to end,” said U.S. Senator Peter Welch (D-VT). “This question about prescription drugs is really about affordability: things that people need every day, they can’t afford. The price negotiation legislation that President Biden signed is finally going to give a tool to Medicare to do what every other government agency does – stand up for fair prices for prescription drugs. Folks need to be able to afford prescription medications. And we’re not going to let Pharma sue their way out of this achievement that has been long overdue.”

“Prescription drug spending has tripled since 2000 to nearly $400 billion today, and is poised to expand further 50 percent within the next 10 years,” said Tahir Amin, Co-Founder and Co-Executive Director of the Initiative for Medicines. “This increase is fueled mostly by branded drugs which make up just eight percent of prescriptions but account for 84 percent of all drug spending in the United States. We cannot continue to pay these prices, and that’s why the Inflation Reduction Act and the provisions that will curb some of these excesses that the drug companies have been able to develop through patenting games is so important.”

“Our members know when a law truly changes people’s lives,” said Robert Roach, Jr., President of the Alliance for Retired Americans. “And President Biden’s Inflation Reduction Act does that in a number of ways. Because the law penalizes corporations that increase the price of a drug faster than inflation, Americans who take 43 prescription drugs will save between $1 and $499 per average dose. That’s real results.”

“For far too long, big drug companies have exploited their market power, making drugs unaffordable for seniors and costing taxpayers tens of billions of dollars,” said Andrea Harris, Director of Policy Programs of Protect Our Care. “Protect Our Care’s new report shines a light on why the Inflation Reduction Act’s Medicare Drug Price Negotiation Program is so desperately needed to fix this broken system.”

“While the Biden administration is working tirelessly to implement Medicare negotiation and deliver savings to seniors, pharmaceutical companies and their Republican allies are doing everything in their power to protect their outrageous profits,” said ​​Leslie Dach, Chair of Protect Our Care.Republicans are trying to repeal the Inflation Reduction Act, and major pharmaceutical companies are in court trying to take away Medicare’s power to negotiate lower prices. Fortunately, we have a president who will ensure everyone can afford the medicines they need.”