Statement from Margarida Jorge, campaign director for Lower Drug Prices Now, on news that Xavier Becerra has been named to head HHS:
“When we say that personnel is policy, this is precisely what we mean. Confirmation of President-elect Biden’s nominee, Xavier Becerra, would be a significant step toward putting affordable healthcare and prescription drugs within reach for all. Becerra has a wealth of experience in promoting affordable healthcare, including his work to strengthen the Affordable Care Act while in Congress, defending the law against legal attacks from the Trump Administration, and holding pharmaceutical corporations accountable for price gouging while Attorney General in California.
In this role, Becerra would have an opportunity to correct the mistakes of his predecessor by ensuring that the Biden-Harris Administration’s COVID response is transparent, affordable and accountable. Secretary Azar defended and protected the profits of the prescription drug industry both in his role as HHS Secretary and as a Big Pharma executive before that. We hope that Becerra puts an end to the Trump Administration’s secretive awards to drug corporations that have profiteered off the pandemic while leaving ordinary Americans with no guarantee of affordable vaccines and treatments.
We urge the Biden-Harris Administration to end drug corporations’ monopoly control to overcharge us for prescription drugs, which has led to the cost of medicines in the U.S. being the highest in the world, and has created false scarcity in the market for vaccines and other necessary COVID treatments. We’re looking forward to decisive administrative action under Becerra’s leadership that will increase competition, reduce costs in Medicare and Medicaid and ensure safe, fair and equitable distribution of COVID vaccines and medicines.
Xavier Becerra would be in good company with the nominations of Dr. Rochelle Walensky to head the CDC, Anthony S. Fauci as chief medical advisor on COVID-19, Vivek Murthy as Surgeon General, Jeffrey Zients as coordinator of the coronavirus response, and Marcella Nunez-Smith as chair of the COVID-19 equity task force.”