Statement from Margarida Jorge, campaign director for Lower Drug Prices Now, on news that top Senate Democrats are seeking $25B for Covid-19 vaccine development and distribution:
“Senate Democrats are absolutely right: Americans need affordable COVID vaccines and treatments. And we’re glad that they’re pushing to use the government’s purchasing power to negotiate a ‘fair price’ for patients. But as long as drug corporations retain monopoly power to set and keep prices high, taxpayers will continue to foot the bill behind the scenes even if patients aren’t paying at the point of service.
The facts don’t change: handing more money over to the drug companies while doing nothing to regulate them only contradicts the promise of affordability. If Congress doesn’t take away monopoly control over prices, Pharma corporations will still be able to raise prices anytime they want and charge Medicare, Medicaid and insurers exorbitant prices that get shifted to the rest of us in the form of higher premiums and increased taxes. To get past this shell game and ensure affordability once and for all, Congress needs to rewrite the rules and limit the drug corporations’ ability to charge any price they want for medicines, especially COVID treatments and vaccines created with taxpayer funding.
If we’re serious about protecting patients from pandemic profiteering, Congress must acknowledge that when it comes to prescription medicines, nothing is free. Americans have already paid for innovation, for tax breaks that subsidize marketing, CEO pay, and other business expenses as well as for massive tax giveaways to the drug corporations under the Trump tax law. Now it’s time to make sure that patients get equitable and affordable access to the treatments and medicines that we’ve already contributed to develop.”