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ICYMI: Rep. Huffman Helped Pass ‘Lower Drug Costs Now Act’ in the House to Stop Price Hikes – Bill is Now Stalled in the Senate

More than 400 Drugs Have Already Increased in Price This Year According to CBS’s Report

January 15, 2020

In Case You Missed It – Multiple news outlets are reporting that just days into the New Year, consumers are already facing significant increases in the cost of hundreds of prescription drugs. That’s why last year Representative Jared Huffman (D-San Rafael) worked to pass the Lower Drug Costs Now Act (H.R. 3) in the House, landmark legislation that would give Medicare the power to negotiate directly with drug companies to bring down prices. That bill, unfortunately, is now stuck in the Senate – meaning that those cost savings are not yet available to families and seniors across the country.

  • CBS NEWS: “Three days into the new year, drug makers have already increased the list prices on hundreds of medications, with experts predicting more hikes in the weeks to come. So far in 2020, prices on 411 drugs have increased an average of 5%, according to GoodRx, which tracks the cost of more than 3,500 drugs.”
  • REUTERS: “More drugmakers hike U.S. prices as new year begins”
  • CNBC: “Bristol-Myers, Gilead, and Biogen hike US drug prices as the new year begins”

“No one in America should lose their livelihood, or life, because of the price of prescription medication,” said Rep. Huffman. “Hard-working Americans are having to ration or skip their medication altogether because of the astronomical cost of prescription drugs – yet those prices keep climbing. We need the Senate to vote on the Lower Drug Costs Now Act, and we need President Trump to stop opposing it, to help relieve that burden and ensure no one has to worry about affording life-saving medications.”

THE LOWER DRUG COSTS NOW ACT WOULD LOWER DRUGS COSTS AND EXPAND BENEFITS:

The Lower Drug Costs Now Act would:

  • Give Medicare the power to negotiate directly with the drug companies to bring down prices and create powerful new tools to force drug companies to the table to agree to real price reductions.
  • Make the lower drug prices negotiated by Medicare available to Americans with private insurance too, not just those on Medicare.
  • Stop drug companies ripping off Americans while charging other countries less for the same drugs by limiting the maximum price for any negotiated drug.
  • Create a new $2,000 out-of-pocket limit on prescription drug costs for people on Medicare.
  • Save taxpayers approximately $500 billion over the next ten years and reinvest those savings into:
    • Expanding Medicare benefits to cover things like dental, vision and hearing,
    • Combatting the addiction crisis, and
    • Researching new cures and treatments.

THE LOWER DRUG COSTS NOW ACT WOULD SAVE MONEY:

Independent experts found the Lower Drug Costs Now Act would:

  • Save American households $120 billion.
  • Save private businesses more than $40 billion.
  • Save taxpayers approximately $500 billion and reinvests that savings to expand benefits.

DISTRICT BY THE NUMBERS:

According to a report by the House Committee on Ways and Means:

123,016 residents in CA-02 rely on Medicare Part D and 498,057 residents rely on private insurance, for their prescription drug coverage.  The Lower Drug Costs Now Act would significantly lower the costs of prescription drugs for both Medicare and private insurance beneficiaries.  Here are some examples of how CA-02 patients would benefit:

  • Diabetes – 3,088,741 California residents live with diabetes. For the most commonly used insulin medications, California diabetes patients spend between $1,200 and $20,000 annually. Under H.R.3 diabetes patients in California could 3.5 times less on insulin and pay as little as $400 per year.
  • Asthma – For the 2,398,304 California residents living with Asthma, H.R. 3 would lower annual costs for most asthma drugs from about $1,400 to $270 per year.
  • HIV/AIDS – 4,495 California residents live with HIV/AIDS. Under H.R. 3 these patients’ total costs can be lowered from $15,000 to $6,000 per year.
  • Multiple Sclerosis (MS) – In the U.S. one million people are living with MS.  H.R. 3 can lower the total costs for most MS drugs from $40,000 to $13,000 per year.
  • Breast Cancer – In 2019, an estimated 27,000 California residents were diagnosed with Breast Cancer.  H.R. 3 can lower the average total costs of Ibrance breast cancer medication for CA-02 breast cancer patients by 65%, from $69,000 to $23,900 per year. 

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