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NEW LETTER: Harder Demands Democratic Leadership Include Measures to Lower Prescription Drug Costs in Reconciliation Bill

WASHINGTON — Today, Representative Josh Harder (CA-10) sent a letter alongside 14 of his colleagues demanding Democratic leadership include measures to lower the cost of prescription drugs in the upcoming reconciliation bill. According to Rep. Harder’s 2019 report on diabetes drugs, Central Valley families pay as much as 21 times more for insulin than families living in Australia and other developed nations.

“I came to Congress to beat back special interests and fight for Central Valley families. Big Pharma has been ripping us off for too long, so today I’m calling on Democratic leadership to buck the lobbyists and include language to lower the costs of prescription drugs in the reconciliation bill,” said Rep. Harder. “No one should have to decide between paying for their prescription and paying for their groceries.”

Read the full letter below and online here.

Dear Speaker Pelosi and Majority Leader Hoyer:

Thank you for your leadership and continued efforts to lower the cost of prescription drugs. As majority-makers in competitive districts, we promised our constituents that we would come to Washington to fight on their behalf for lower drug prices. We cannot turn back now on our promise to the American people. We urge you in the strongest terms possible to include legislative language in the Build Back Better Act that will be voted on by the full House to accomplish this.

The pharmaceutical industry has gouged the American public for decades. As a country, we spend hundreds of billions of dollars a year on prescription drugs, and yet our constituents must often choose between purchasing prescribed medications or putting food on the table. It is unacceptable that anyone in the wealthiest country in the world cannot access the medications they need to stay alive.

With two lobbyists per Member of Congress, we know that Big Pharma is deeply invested in the status quo. Our current system forbids Medicare from negotiating the prices it pays for prescription drugs. As a result, millions of Americans are forced to spend thousands of dollars a year on their medications – or go without.

In many cases, as with insulin, these medications have been on the market for decades. In 1991, a bottle of Humalog insulin cost $21. Today the average list price is over $300. That is inexcusable. In these instances, we are not paying for research and development. By allowing the cost of drugs like insulin to rise year after year, we are financing soaring executive salaries, stock buybacks and outrageous profit margins on the backs of our seniors.

With the Build Back Better agenda, we have a perhaps once in a generation opportunity to change the status quo and make good on our promise that no one should have to choose between affording their prescription drugs or food or housing. The public is on our side. Big Pharma is not.

Soon, we must go back to our districts and explain what we’ve done in Washington to make our constituents’ lives better. We ran on upsetting the status quo and lowering out-of-pocket costs for healthcare and prescription drugs. If we fail, we’ll need to explain to them why we let Big Pharma win, why we let entrenched special interests take precedence over the American people.

You have dedicated your careers to lowering the cost of healthcare. We stand with you in your continued efforts. The moment is now. We must deliver on our promise to lower the amount of money our constituents pay for prescription drugs. We must demonstrate that we work for the American people and not the pharmaceutical industry. Our constituents are counting on us.

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