Senator Collins, Finance Committee Chairman Urge Support for Legislation to Lower Cost of Prescription Drugs

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Washington, D.C. — In a series of speeches from the Senate floor, U.S. Senator Susan Collins (R-ME) and Senate Finance Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley (R-IA), as well as Senators Mike Braun (R-IN), Bill Cassidy (R-LA), Cindy Hyde-Smith (R-MS), and Martha McSally (R-AZ), 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.


“In October, the Institute for Clinical and Economic Review (ICER) published its first annual report on unsupported price increases of prescription drugs in the United States.  It should surprise no one that Humira, the poster child for patent gaming, led the list.  Humira’s price increased 15.9 percent from 2017 to 2018, costing American patients and insurers an extra $1.86 billion. Why do we want to wait any longer to act?” said Senator Collins.


“At a time when health and economic security is more important than ever, Congress has an opportunity to deliver a decisive victory in lowering costs for patients,” Senator Collins continued.  “We must come together on prescription drug legislation without further delay.”


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 reported out of the Senate Health Committee last year with bipartisan support.  In July 2019, 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. 


Additionally, Senator Collins joined a group of Senators in introducing the Prescription Drug Pricing Reduction Act of 2020, landmark legislation that would save taxpayers more $95 billion, reduce out-of-pocket spending by $72 billion, and reduce premiums by $1 billion.  This bill takes a pragmatic approach to health care reform, focusing on creating penalties for drug price increases that outpace inflation and eliminating opportunities for health care “middlemen” like pharmacy benefit managers to drive up prices for patients and taxpayers.