Washington, D.C.—U.S. Senator Susan Collins, Chairman of the Senate Aging Committee and a member of the Senate Health Committee, issued this statement following the President’s announcement of a plan to reduce prescription drug prices.
“The skyrocketing cost of prescription drugs places a tremendous strain on family budgets, particularly for older Americans, the vast majority of whom take at least one prescription drug every day.
“While dramatic breakthroughs by the pharmaceutical industry have led to new medical miracles, they often come with hefty price tags, placing a particularly heavy burden on seniors, the uninsured, and those Americans with high deductibles.
““I have long been concerned about some drug companies increasing prices dramatically, in some instances by thousands of percent overnight, without any justification or improvement in the drug to improve its effectiveness.”
“That’s why as chair of the Senate Aging Committee, I led a bipartisan investigation into the egregious price hikes on a number of decades-old drugs in 2015. I also authored legislation with Senator Claire McCaskill (D-MO) that was signed into law last year to improve generic drug competition, which is key to lowering prescription drug prices. Last month, I introduced two bills that would prohibit health insurers and pharmacy benefit managers (PBMs) from using so-called “gag clauses,” which some companies use to forbid pharmacists from proactively telling consumers if their prescription would cost less if they paid for it out-of-pocket rather than using their insurance. I was pleased to hear the President condemn this egregious practice during his remarks this afternoon. And just this week, I chaired a hearing to examine the rising cost of insulin, which has increased dramatically in recent years despite the fact that it was discovered nearly 100 years ago. One father told my Committee how the cost of insulin for his son with Type 1 diabetes had tripled overnight to more than $900.
“But much more work remains to be done, and today’s action from the Trump Administration is an encouraging step forward in our effort to increase transparency and help make prescription drugs more accessible and affordable for the millions of Americans that rely on these lifesaving treatments to stay healthy.”
Senator Collins has led bipartisan efforts in Congress to increase the affordability and accessibility of prescription drugs. In 2015, Senators Collins and Claire McCaskill (D-MO) launched the landmark bipartisan Senate investigation into the causes, impacts, and potential solutions to egregious price spikes for certain generic, off-patent drugs. They released a report on their investigation in 2016. Following their investigation, Senators Collins and McCaskill authored a bill to improve generic competition and lower the cost of prescription drugs that was signed into law as part of the FDA Reauthorization Act.