Lowering the Cost of Prescription Drugs
Working to lower the cost of prescription drugs has been a top priority of mine since I was elected. The cost of prescription drugs has skyrocketed over the past few decades, and research shows that 1 in 5 Americans have walked away from the pharmacy counter because they can’t afford their prescription drugs. To bring down the cost to consumers, it is essential that there is far greater price transparency, and that the government has the tools to negotiate down drug prices with the pharmaceutical companies, especially for Medicare beneficiaries.
To tackle the problem of price transparency, I introduced the Real Time Benefits Act, which passed the House with unanimous, bipartisan support in October 2019. This bill creates a “real time benefits” tool which could be used by doctors and Medicare patients to access information about the cost of a prescription, compare cheaper generic alternatives, and find the pharmacy with the best price. This would allow patients to know the real cost of their prescription drugs, before they leave the doctor’s office.
To tackle the issue of negotiation, I co-sponsored the Lower Drug Cost Now Act. And in December 2019 I was extremely proud to see it pass the House with bipartisan support. This comprehensive drug pricing reform bill would allow the government to directly negotiate with pharmaceutical companies to lower the costs of prescription drugs, bringing down the costs for all consumers. Right now, the Veteran’s Administration health care system is able to do just that for the nearly 10 million patients that access healthcare through the VA. Negotiation will bring prices down, which will benefit all Americans.
Unfortunately, both of these bills remain stuck in the Senate’s hands.
For too long, big pharmaceutical firms have bought influence through campaign donations and politicians have looked the other way as prescription drug prices have skyrocketed. I don’t accept a dime from this industry, or any corporate PAC, in my campaign. I will pledge to continue the fight for increased checks and balances on the pharmaceutical industry. The fight for affordable prescription drugs is far from over. I can’t get through the grocery store without people coming up to tell me that they can’t afford their son’s insulin, they can’t send their daughter to summer camp because they can’t afford the four required inhalers, or that their elderly parents are rationing their medication. This is a struggle that nobody should have to go through, and why I will continue to fight to find ways to lower the cost of prescription drugs.