Health and Fitness

Rep. Jan Schakowsky Introduces Medicare Fair Drug Pricing Act

WASHINGTON, DC –(ENEWSPF)–December 10, 2015.  Today, Representative Jan Schakowsky (D-IL) released the following statement after introducing H.R. 4207, the Medicare Fair Drug Pricing Act:

“Over the past few years, many breakthrough drugs have come to market, providing hope to many Americans living with diseases that currently have little or no treatment or cure. Yet, little has been done to ensure that patients can actually afford those life-saving treatments.

“That is why, I introduced the Medicare Fair Drug Pricing Act, which would ensure that Medicare beneficiaries have access to breakthrough, life-saving drugs. Under my legislation the Secretary of Health and Human Services would negotiate directly with drug manufacturers of sole source drugs and biologics covered under Medicare Part D to ensure that these medicines are affordable and accessible for beneficiaries.

“Stories of companies like Gilead charging $84,000 for a course of treatment for their Hepatitis C drug, Sovaldi, have become all too common, demanding urgent action to enforce fair pricing for prescription drugs. I urge Congress to take immediate action on this common sense legislation so that we ensure that Americans are not unfairly burdened with the high cost of prescription drugs.”

Background on the Medicare Fair Drug Pricing Act:

• The Medicare Fair Drug Pricing Act would require the Secretary of HHS to negotiate for the price of drugs covered by Medicare Part D that are either sole source drugs or biologics and are not manufactured by more than two drug manufacturers.
• Under the legislation, a drug manufacturer and the Secretary would have 90 days to negotiate the price of a drug covered by Medicare Part D. If the two parties fail to reach an agreement after 90 days, the Secretary would have the authority to set the price using existing fee schedules and consulting with MEDPAC, the Comptroller General, and other outside, independent entities as she sees fit.
• The price set by either the negotiations or the Secretary would be in effect until more than two drug manufacturers with competitor drugs enter the market, one of which must be a generic. The price would be indexed to the consumer price index each year but could not rise by more than that amount in a given year.
• Finally, this legislation would require the Secretary to produce a report outlining if a similar negotiation process could be applied to drugs covered under Medicare Part B. The Secretary would also report on other methods, such as rebates, that could be applied to drugs covered under Medicare Part B.

The Medicare Fair Drug Pricing Act has been endorsed by the Center for Medicare Advocacy and the Medicare Rights Center. The bill is also endorsed by all of the Members of the Affordable Drug Pricing Task Force (Reps. Cummings (D-MD), DeLauro (D-CT), Doggett (D-TX), McDermott (D-WA) and Welch (D-VT)) of which Congresswoman Jan Schakowsky is a founding member. In addition Representatives Mark Pocan (D-WI) and Barbara Lee (D-CA) also were original cosponsors.