SANTA CLARA, Calif. – At a time when one in five American adults cannot afford to get the prescription medication they need, U.S. Rep. Ro Khanna (D, Calif.) and U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders (I, Vt.) announced they will introduce the Prescription Drug Price Relief Act at the start of the new Congress to significantly reduce prescription drug prices for Americans.
This bill would require the Secretary of Health and Human Services to make sure that Americans don’t pay more for prescription drugs than the median price in five major countries: Canada, the United Kingdom, France, Germany and Japan. If pharmaceutical manufacturers refuse to lower drug prices below that level, the federal government would approve cheaper generic versions of those drugs, regardless of any patents or market exclusivities in place.
If this legislation were to become law, the median price of brand name prescription drugs could go down by more than 40%, and savings for certain brand name prescription drugs could be even greater.
“There is absolutely no reason for the big pharmaceutical companies to make Americans pay higher prescription drug prices than they charge our friends in Canada, Germany, and the UK. Today we’re sending big pharma a message: market exclusivity is a privilege, and when you abuse that by price gouging the sick and aging, then you lose that privilege,” Rep. Khanna said. “This bill will bring down drug prices by taking on monopolies and boosting prescription drug competition.”
“No other country allows pharmaceutical companies to charge any price they want for any reason they want. Somebody in America today can walk into a pharmacy and find out that the medicine they have been using for years can double, triple or quadruple literally overnight. That needs to change,” Sen. Sanders said. “The greed of the prescription drug industry is literally killing Americans and it has got to stop.”
President Donald Trump said repeatedly during his campaign that he would take action against drug companies and bring down prices. But in the first seven months of 2018 alone, there were 96 drug price hikes for every price cut. And on Friday, Pfizer announced it is planning to raise prices on 41 more drugs in January.
Earlier this year, Trump proposed a pilot program to gradually lower the prices of certain drugs covered by Medicare Part B to international price levels. But his proposal does not help the more than 150 million Americans who get private health insurance from their employer, many of whom struggle with high deductibles and copayments, or the more than 30 million Americans who are uninsured and must pay the full cash price of their prescription drugs at the pharmacy. Sanders and Khanna’s legislation would address the needs of both of those populations.
Click here for a section-by-section summary of the bill.
Click here for a one-page summary of the bill.
[email protected] (Khanna)