WASHINGTON (March 26, 2020) – The United States Senate just passed a $2 trillion stimulus bill in response to the coronavirus crisis in the United States. The legislation includes provisions to support hospitals, small businesses and distressed companies caught in the public health and economic fallout from the pandemic.
The following is a statement from Margarida Jorge, national campaign director for Lower Drug Prices Now:
“This package is a step towards helping Americans stay healthy and get back on their feet in the midst of the coronavirus crisis. Speaker Pelosi and Leader Schumer negotiated significant improvements to ensure more support for public health services and hospitals, to protect workers and to provide small business relief that will shield millions of Americans from physical and economic harm.
“While the bill includes increased funding for research and development of COVID 19 medicines, it doesn’t guarantee affordability or access to those treatments. Without anti-monopoly safeguards, drug corporations will relentlessly profiteer from taxpayer funded treatments by price-gouging patients to inflate their profits. Just in the last few weeks we’ve seen Rising Pharma double prices on a potential COVID treatment, and Gilead seek a special 7 year monopoly for its potential treatment remdesivir.
Public health experts predict that as many as 100 million Americans will be infected by the coronavirus. Lawmakers must take action to guarantee that coronavirus treatments and vaccines are affordable and available to all as part of any future stimulus package. Moreover, the Trump Administration and HHS Secretary Azar must use their existing authority to block . monopoly control of coronavirus treatments or vaccines.
“Elected leaders cannot tolerate business as usual profiteering from a pandemic that puts millions of lives at risk. President Trump and federal officials must deny any corporation monopoly power to set prices, and do it now to ensure fair and reasonable prices later.”
Who We Are: A national coalition of nearly sixty social, racial and economic justice organizations with members in all fifty states, Lower Drug Prices Now is committed to transformative, systemic and bold reforms to ensure everyone has access to affordable medicines — no matter where they live, what they look like or how much money they have.