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National Coalition of 60 Social, Racial and Economic Justice Organizations Urges Congressional Leaders to Lower Drug Prices in Next Package

Building on H.R.3 legislation would end drug corporation price-gouging on prices and finally make prescriptions medicines affordable for everyone

WASHINGTON — In a new letter to Democratic leaders in Congress, Lower Drug Prices Now—a coalition of 60 social, racial, and economic justice organizations representing millions of Americans struggling with high prescription drug prices—urges House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer to pass a strong H.R. 3, the Lower Drug Costs Now Act in order to make prescription drugs more affordable and hold the pharmaceutical industry accountable for price gouging and pandemic profiteering.

“LDPN believes that Congress has a unique and timely opportunity right now to make meaningful progress on lowering drug prices as part of a ‘build back better’ strategy that tackles long-standing affordability and access issues in the healthcare system, that promotes health equity and fairness, and that generates savings that can be reinvested in increasing access and affordability,” writes Margarida Jorge, Campaign Director at Lower Drug Prices Now.

The Lower Drug Prices Now coalition includes MoveOn, Oxfam, Public Citizen, UnidosUS Action Fund, ACRE, Indivisible, Alliance for Retired Americans, AFSCME, AFL-CIO, AFT, UAW, Families USA, Hero Action Fund, Moms Rising, and many others.

“We are eager to see Democratic leaders re-introduce H.R. 3 for action in the 117th Congress and help us finally achieve the many popular and long-overdue reforms that would increase access to medicines for millions of Americans.”

The coalition urges Congress to make the following improvements to the Lower Drug Costs Now Act to ensure that everyone benefits from lower drug prices:

  •  Lowering prices through robust negotiation provisions that would:
    • Give the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary the authority to negotiate prices for all drugs by expanding negotiation eligibility criteria and eliminating the non-interference clause.
    • Prioritize drugs with the highest revenue and greatest public health impacts.
    • Establish a mechanism for the public to petition HHS to negotiate on specific drugs.
  • Bolstering the inflationary caps by replacing rebates with an excise tax and by following President Biden’s lead by expanding the drugs covered to include “all brand, biologics and abusively priced generic drugs to inflation.”
  • Eliminating the tax deduction that drug corporations can claim for marketing and advertising their products. In 2016, for television ads alone, drug corporations were able to deduct more than $6 billion.
  • Increasing transparency by requiring detailed reporting of research and development spending by clinical trial or trial phase, including both pre- and post-market approval.

“The price of prescription medicine is rising faster than the price of any other medical good or service. Prescription drug corporations are the most profitable industry in the nation and are now poised to make even more profits from the vaccines they have developed largely with public money — our money,” the letter reads. “Even in the pandemic that has cost millions of people their jobs, income, health care and countless lives, the drug corporations continue to raise prices at multiple times the rate of inflation. Over the decade before COVID-19, drug corporations hiked prices far above annual median wage increases, consistently putting their profits ahead of patients’ health.”

Rising prescription drug costs were the top healthcare concern for voters in the 2020 election. Eight in 10 Americans say drug prices are too high and want Congress to make lower prescription drugs a top priority. One in three Americans admitted to skipping prescription refills due to costs, and one in 10 say they have rationed medications in the past.

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