Problem Solvers Caucus and Senators Collins, Manchin for Bipartisan Bicameral Push to Lower Prescription Drug Prices

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Washington, June 27, 2019 | comments

 

WASHINGTON – Today, Thursday, June 27, 2019, Members of the bipartisan Problem Solvers Caucus, led by Caucus Co-Chairs Tom Reed (R-NY) and Josh Gottheimer (D-NJ), along with Senators Susan Collins (R-ME) and Joe Manchin (D-WV), announced principles to support legislation to address the country’s constantly rising prescription drug prices while boosting access to health care nationwide, increasing price transparency, and growing competition.

Members of the Problem Solvers Caucus and Senators Collins and Manchin also highlighted different pieces of bipartisan legislation representative of efforts to lower drug costs around the country, but aren’t formally endorsed by the Caucus. 

“Rising drug prices affect every single state and nearly every American, regardless of party. It is our hope that the Problem Solvers prescription drug principles will help shape the legislative debate that’s taking place now. Working together, we can get legislation across the finish line that will lower out-of-pocket prescription drug costs for far too many Americans," said Problem Solvers Caucus Co-Chair Josh Gottheimer. “Our Problem Solvers principles promote price transparency, increase competition, implement patent reform, and improve accountability through enforcement mechanisms that will help put a stop to bad actors. These steps will help lower prescription drug costs for all of our hardworking families, not just back in my district of North Jersey, but all across this great country."

“Many Americans face exorbitant costs at the pharmacy counter and deserve to know why they are paying more for their medication and be given more options for prescription drugs to ease the pain on their pocketbooks,” said Problem Solvers Caucus Co-Chair Tom Reed. “The people we represent and care about want Washington to work together, and the Problem Solvers Caucus is proud to lead by example to push for lower drug prices for hard working people.”

“Prescription drugs are too expensive for Americans, and we must work to lower costs so that everyone has access to the life-saving medicines they need. Across this country, families and small businesses have seen dramatic increases in their out of pocket healthcare costs,” said Senator Joe Manchin (WV). “We simply cannot continue at the current rate. West Virginia families should never be forced to choose between putting food on the table and going to the doctor or buying life-saving medicines. Affordable healthcare is not a Republican or Democratic problem – it’s an American problem, and I look forward to working with my fellow colleagues on both sides of the aisle to ensure every American can access the medication they need.” 

“As Chairman of the Aging Committee, one of my highest priorities is to combat the soaring costs of prescription drugs,” said Senator Susan Collins (ME).  “Since 2015, I have held eight hearings on drug pricing and have heard heartbreaking stories from those who have struggled to afford their medications, including a father from New Gloucester, Maine, who saw the cost of his son’s insulin triple overnight.  Congress is making progress on this issue, such as enacting legislation I wrote to encourage generic competition and ban pharmacy gag clauses and including my bill to block harmful patent strategies used by biologics manufacturers in a package passed by the Health Committee yesterday, but much more remains to be done.  I look forward to working with our partners in the House to pass legislation to help Americans facing exorbitant costs for the medications they need, particularly seniors, 90% of whom take a prescription drug.”

With the release of these principles, the 23 Democrats and 23 Republicans of the bipartisan Problem Solvers Caucus agreed to support ongoing legislative efforts to address the country’s constantly rising prescription drug prices.

The Problem Solvers Caucus principles for supporting prescription drug pricing legislation are:

  • We support access to medications for patients through more transparency, competition, and affordability in the U.S. prescription drug market.
  • We support price transparency standards that give patients, health care providers, and the federal government clear information about drug costs.
  • We believe drug manufacturers should have to disclose, in a way consumers and providers can understand, the price of treatment for advertised drugs and explanation of prices. 
  • We believe pharmacy benefit managers should have to disclose, in a way consumers and providers can understand, the discounts they receive from drug manufacturers that impact the cost of medications for patients.
  • We support patent transparency standards that help new drugs come to market as soon as possible.
  • We support competition among drug manufacturers that ensures continued R&D, makes drugs more affordable, and increases access for patients who need them. 
  • We believe in enforcement mechanisms that pave the way for new, more affordable drugs if other manufacturers do not comply with transparency standards or engage in anti-competitive behavior.

"I am thrilled we were able to come together across the aisle to fight for more transparency around prescription drugs," said Rep. Salud Carbajal. "No one should be priced out of or denied access to lifesaving medicine, regardless of any other factors. Our bipartisan principles, and the bills that go with them, ensure patients will get the best treatments possible, in a transparent manner, at prices that don't break the bank—that's what matters most."

“Americans across the country shouldn’t have to choose between putting food on the table or filling their prescription,” Rep. Will Hurd said. “I’m proud to join many of my colleague by supporting the Problem Solvers Caucus Drug Pricing Principles and continuing to champion bills that increase access to and decrease the cost of care.”

“The rising costs of prescription drugs is one of the issues I hear about most from folks in Upstate New York,” Rep. Anthony Brindisi said. “No family should have to choose between life-saving medicine and putting food on their table. It’s time to put politics aside and work together to bring more transparency and choice to the prescription drug market. This plan by the Problem Solvers has support from members on both sides of the aisle and is an important first step.”

“The skyrocketing cost of prescription drugs is preventing Central New Yorkers and Americans across the country from receiving critical, and sometimes life-saving, medicine. Access to prescription drugs should be expanded rather than pricing people out,” Rep. John Katko said. “I am proud to have collaborated with the Problem Solvers Caucus in a bipartisan manner to create these principles for reducing drug prices, ensuring all Americans have access to the medication they rely upon to stay healthy.”

“The price of many prescription drugs have been high for too long and millions of Americans are struggling to keep up with the rising costs,” Rep. Jim Costa said. “I am committed to lowering prescription drug costs by working with Congress to pass legislation that will stop drug companies from gaming the system.”

“Prescription drugs should be available, accessible, and affordable for every day Americans,” Rep. Steve Watkins said. “For that to be possible, there must be transparency and competition in the pricing and production of these drugs.”  

“The fight for quality health care and affordable, lifesaving prescription drugs is not a partisan issue,” Rep. Susie Lee said. “These are concrete, common sense steps that will make the prescription drug market more transparent, affordable, and consumer friendly, so all Americans know what they’re buying and how they’re paying for the medication they and their families need.”

“Americans are getting crushed by skyrocketing prescription drug costs all while the pharmaceutical companies are making record profits,” Rep. Max Rose said. “It’s absurd how broken this system has become. That’s why we have to take real action, and these commonsense, bipartisan solutions are critical first steps that ought to be taken up for a vote.”

“Lowering the cost of prescription drugs is the issue I get stopped in grocery store about — it’s what our constituents, regardless of party, are demanding of us as their representatives,” Rep. Elissa Slotkin said. “Our caucus’s bipartisan agreement on a set of key principals related to lowering the prices on life-saving drugs demonstrates the real common ground and opportunity we have in this Congress to get this done. I look forward to continue working with my colleagues in Problem Solvers to grow bipartisan consensus on prescription drug pricing and deliver real relief for those we represent.”

“In developing these principles, we have come together as a bipartisan group of lawmakers to affirm that the American people—our constituents across the country—will benefit when we pursue transparency, competition, and affordability in prescription drug pricing,” Rep. Abigail Spanberger said. “Agreeing on these principles is the first step in creating and passing legislation that will address one of the greatest economic and medical challenges facing Americans.”

“The costs of prescription drugs are soaring, and both parties should be able to come together to address this crisis and find solutions,” Rep. Brad Schneider said. “I am proud to endorse these principles by the Bipartisan Problem Solvers Caucus and look forward to building on them in the days ahead to bring needed transparency, competition, and accountability to make prescription medication more affordable.”

"I look forward to working with other Problem Solvers on the Energy and Commerce Committee to employ these common sense principles in our drug pricing legislative efforts,” Rep. Darren Soto said. “Together we can make prescriptions more affordable for all Americans!”

“Prescription drug prices are too high! We must force more transparency by pharmaceutical companies. Democratic and Republican members of the Problem Solvers Caucus have worked together to find common ground to increase transparency, foster competition thereby reduce prescription drug prices,” Rep. Tom Suozzi said.  

The Problem Solvers Caucus is a bipartisan group in Congress comprising 46 members – equally divided between Democrats and Republicans – who are committed to forging bipartisan cooperation on key issues. It is co-chaired by Congressman Josh Gottheimer (D-NJ) and Congressman Tom Reed (R-NY).

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