Washington, D.C.—In the second hearing this week on the soaring cost of prescription drugs, U.S. Senators Susan Collins (R-ME) and Bob Casey (D-PA), the Chairman and Ranking Member of the Aging Committee, continued their bipartisan effort to untangle the complex web of prescription drug pricing and find solutions for patients and their families.
Today’s hearing examined policies that can help make prescription drugs more accessible and affordable. Four expert witnesses with backgrounds in consumer advocacy, health policy, and academia provided their perspectives on ways to increase transparency and bring costs down. Yesterday, the Aging Committee heard from five patients about the struggles they endure to be able to afford the medications they need.
“High drug prices and cost increases that dominate our headlines and devastate our bottom lines are unsustainable,” said Senator Collins. “Yesterday, we heard painful, personal stories from patients who struggle to obtain the medications they need at prices they can afford. While we have taken steps to address this serious issue, much more remains to be done. Today’s hearing examined ways to further empower consumers, improve transparency, and fundamentally change the incentives in our broken system.”
“Yesterday, we heard stories from Americans throughout the country who are struggling to afford life-sustaining medications. No one should have to skip doses or go into debt because of their prescriptions,” said Senator Casey. “Congress must pass common sense legislation to reduce prescription drug prices. That’s why I introduced the bipartisan Prescription Drug Pricing Dashboard Act with Chairman Collins and the Medicare Extra Rx HELP Act to help give Americans financial relief.”
Those testifying at today’s hearing included:
Click HERE to read their testimonies.
The Senate Aging Committee has made combating high prescription drug prices a top priority. In hearings last year, the Committee specifically examined the rising costs of drugs to treat diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis and diabetes.
In 2015, the Aging Committee launched the Senate’s first bipartisan investigation into the causes, impacts, and potential solutions to the egregious price spikes for certain off-patent drugs. The Committee released a report on its investigation in 2016.
This week, U.S. Senator Susan Collins was joined by a bipartisan group of Senators in introducing the Biologic Patent Transparency Act, legislation that would encourage competition in the prescription drug marketplace and put an end to the harmful patent strategies that block new drugs from coming to market.
Today, Senators Casey and Collins introduced the bipartisan Prescription Drug Pricing Dashboard Act that would guarantee information about drug costs are posted annually by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS). The Drug Spending Dashboards at CMS are interactive, web-based tools that provide cost and spending information for drugs in the Medicare Part B and D programs as well as Medicaid. By knowing how much Medicare and Medicaid spend on prescription drugs it will be easier to spot trends, identify problems and find solutions.