Click HERE to read Senator Collins’ remarks.
Washington, D.C. — In a series of speeches from the Senate floor, U.S. Senator Susan Collins (R-ME), Senate Finance Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley (R-IA), Senator Bill Cassidy (R-LA), and Senator Steve Daines (R-MT) urged their colleagues to support the bipartisan work underway in the Senate to help Americans struggling with the high cost of prescription drugs.
Senator Collins is the Chairman of the Senate Aging Committee and a member of the Senate Health Committee.
“Three committees — the Finance Committee, the Health Committee, and the Judiciary Committee — have all advanced bipartisan legislation to reform our broken drug pricing system,” said Senator Collins. “Congress has a tremendous opportunity to deliver a decisive victory in both lowering health care costs and improving health care for the people in my State of Maine and throughout our country. We must act on prescription drug legislation without further delay.”
“I want to express my appreciation to the Chairman of the Finance Committee, Senator Grassley, not only for his leadership, but also for his persistence on an issue that affects so many Americans, and that is the soaring price of prescription drugs,” Senator Collins continued.
Senator Collins has made it a priority to lower the soaring costs of prescription drugs. In 2015, Senator Collins and then-Senator Claire McCaskill (D-MO) launched the Senate’s first bipartisan investigation into the causes, impacts, and potential solutions to egregious price spikes for certain off-patent drugs. Since 2015, the Senate Aging Committee has held eight hearings on drug pricing and 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. In October 2018, Senator Collins’ legislation to prohibit the use of pharmacy “gag clauses” was signed into law.
Last year, Senator Collins introduced the Biologic Patent Transparency Act to help block the harmful patent strategies that prevent lower-cost biosimilars from coming to market. Portions of this bill were included in the Lower Health Care Costs Act of 2019, which was signed into law earlier this year. Additionally, the Prescription Drug Pricing Reduction Act (PDPRA) of 2019, which passed the Finance Committee by a vote of 19 to 9, includes legislation introduced by Senator Collins and Aging Committee Ranking Member Bob Casey (D-PA) that codifies and builds on the existing CMS Drug Pricing Dashboards to include consumer-friendly information about out-of-pocket costs for individuals enrolled in Medicare. In May Senators Collins, Rick Scott (R-FL), and Cory Gardner (R-CO) introduced the Prescription Drug Price Reporting Act, legislation that would provide much-needed transparency for prescription drug prices. In July, Senators Collins and Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH), the co-chairs of the Senate Diabetes Caucus, introduced new legislation to combat the skyrocketing cost of insulin.
Senator Collins supports the Prescription Drug Pricing Reduction Act, landmark legislation that would save taxpayers more than $100 billion and save seniors more than $30 billion in out-of-pocket costs for their prescriptions. This bill takes a pragmatic approach to health care reform, focusing on increased transparency in the health care system and eliminating opportunities for drug manufacturers and health care “middlemen” like pharmacy benefit managers to take advantage of our health care system.