U.S. Rep. Jan Schakowsky Joined Protect Our Care To Urge Lawmakers To Stand Up To Big Pharma and Give Medicare the Power to Negotiate for Lower Drug Prices
Washington D.C.– Today, Representative Jan Schakowsky (D-IL-09) and Dr. Richard Frank of Harvard Medical School joined Protect Our Care for a press call to push back on Big Pharma’s lies and call on Congress to act to bring down the price of prescription drugs. The event was part of Week 2 of Lower Rx Summer, which is focusing on debunking Big Pharma’s most powerful scare tactics. Big Pharma has been spending record amounts on lobbying to deceive the American people and protect its profits as President Biden and members of Congress finally have the opportunity to meaningfully lower drug prices.
In 2019, the House of Representatives passed the Lower Drug Costs Now Act (H.R. 3), bold legislation to give Medicare the power to negotiate for lower prices — the single most effective measure to bring down drug costs for patients. In April, House Democrats reintroduced this legislation, giving Congress another opportunity to lower prescription drug prices and meet the demands of voters across the political spectrum. Nine out of 10 Americans agree that Medicare should have the power to negotiate for lower drug prices for all Americans. Seniors, women, children, communities of color, and everyone purchasing prescription drugs would benefit from this legislation.
Throughout the week, Protect Our Care will continue to host events and release research to push back on Big Pharma’s biggest lies. Protect Our Care recently announced Lower Rx Summer as part of The Campaign to Reduce Drug Prices. Lower Rx Summer consists of themed weeks of action to demonstrate the urgent need for legislation to lower drug prices principally by giving Medicare the power to negotiate for lower prices.
“We need to mobilize people to say to Big Pharma, ‘No, we are not going to die rather than get the drugs that we need at a price that we can afford.’ Because that is absolutely what is happening right now,” said Rep. Jan Schakowsky (D-IL-09). “Big Pharma claims that they are spending all this money on research and development, but the fact of the matter is that the price is not set based on how much things cost. Prices are set by how much drug companies want to pay for executive salaries, spend on advertising, and to make more profits. The American people are behind us, and we must get this legislation passed.”
“There are many drugs out there that come onto the market every year and offer very few, if any, therapeutic benefits, said Dr. Richard Frank, Margaret T. Morris Professor of Health Economics at Harvard Medical School. “I’ve recently done some research which showed that about 40% of the drugs that come on the market offer a few if any new health benefits to American consumers, yet they fetch a fairly substantial price. The new Alzheimer’s drug, Aducanumab, highlights this point: The drug addresses a dreadful disease, but it remains very uncertain how much it’s going to contribute to the well-being and functioning of most people that take it. Priced at $56,000, Aducanumab underscores the disconnect between prices and the value of treatments.”
“Americans pay more for drugs than anyone in the world. It’s time to put an end to Big Pharma’s rigged system that allows drug companies to charge astronomical prices for medications all while raking in record profits and lining executives’ pockets,” said Protect Our Care Chair Leslie Dach. “Drug companies are well aware that President Biden and Democrats in Congress are determined to take action, so they’ve been ramping up their scare tactics and lobbying efforts. We know the truth: Big Pharma’s claims are nothing short of lies, and the American people are demanding reform. It’s time to give Medicare the power to negotiate for lower drug prices.”
Remaining Theme Weeks for Lower Rx Summer
Week 2 (June 14): Pushing Back on Big Pharma’s Lies
Week 3 (June 21): How High Drug Prices Hurt Seniors
Week 4 (June 28): How High Drug Prices Hurt Women
Week 5 (July 5): How High Drug Prices Hurt People with Disabilities
Week 6 (July 12): How High Drug Prices Hurt People of Color
Week 7 (July 19): How High Drug Prices Hurt Small Businesses
Week 8 (July 26): How High Drug Prices Hurt Children