Rep. Payne, Jr. co-sponsors Lower Drug Costs Act

Oct 29, 2019 Issues: Health Care

For Immediate Release:                                                                                             Media Contact:
October 29, 2019                                                                                                          Patrick Wright
                                                                                                                                      (202) 225-3436
                                                                                                                 Patrick.Wright@mail.house.gov

Rep. Payne, Jr. co-sponsors Lower Drug Costs Now Act

Washington, D.C. — Congressman Donald M. Payne, Jr. wants to reduce the costs of life-saving prescription drugs for all Americans.

Congressman Payne, Jr. co-sponsored the Lower Drug Costs Now Act (H.R. 3) today.  The bill would allow Medicare and Medicaid officials to negotiate the price of insulin and 25 other prescription medications per year that lack a generic substitute with pharmaceutical companies directly.  Also, the bill would allow both government health care agencies and private health care companies to charge patients the new, negotiated price to save money.  If passed, two federal government accounting agencies stated the new lower costs could save taxpayers, patients and private businesses more than $550 billion in the next decade alone. 

Congressman Payne, Jr. has a personal interest in the bill given that he has diabetes and understands the burden high drugs costs can have on Americans.   

“Right now, we have patients and families across the country that have to make the choice between their food for the week or their medication,” said Congressman Payne, Jr.  “That is a choice that people should not have to make in any country.  We need to bring down costs and bring more accountability to the way we price prescription drugs.”    

Currently, the Medicare Part D program is forbidden by law from negotiating prices with drug companies already.  Patients must pay whatever the pharmaceutical companies want to charge them for life-saving and life-sustaining medicines.  It is one reason why prescription drug costs in the U.S. can far exceed costs for the same drugs in other countries.  For example, a small bottle of insulin that costs $450 in the U.S. can cost as little as $21 in Canada.  

In addition, the bill would take the savings from these new prices and invest in medical research to find new cures and treatments for cancer and other illnesses through the National Institutes of Health.        

Congressman Payne, Jr. said he hoped this bill would pass and allow more Americans to worry less about the high costs of their prescription drugs. 

“As a nation, we need to take better care of our most vulnerable populations,” said Congressman Payne, Jr.  “I do not want anyone who suffers from a serious medical condition to have to sacrifice their medications to pay other bills.”
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