Senators Collins, Grassley Urge Colleagues to Support Efforts Underway to Lower Cost of Prescription Drugs

Click HERE to read Senator Collins’ remarks.

Click HERE to watch Senator Collins’ remarks.  Click HERE for a high-resolution video.

 

Washington, D.C. — U.S. Senators Susan Collins (R-ME) and Chuck Grassley (R-IA) delivered remarks from the Senate floor this afternoon urging 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.

 

“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 America.  If we want new medicines to reach consumers who need them, the companies that invest in the research and take the risks necessary to develop these drugs must see a fair return on their investment,” said Senator Collins.  “At the same time, we cannot allow price manipulation to continue at the expense of the most vulnerable Americans and their families, and ultimately at the expense of every American taxpayer.  The required policy solutions won’t come in the form of a miracle, but through hard work and continued bipartisan cooperation.  I urge my colleagues to join us in supporting these measures and bringing them to the floor expeditiously.”

 

“[Senator Collins is] helping lead the fight to reduce drug prices.  We’ve worked together on many issues. As former and current chairs of the Special Committee on Aging, we’re committed to help older Americans lead healthier, productive lives. We also share a top priority not to miss a vote. While I might have a longer voting streak, Susan hasn’t missed a single roll call vote since her first day on the job in 1997,” said Senator Grassley. “Senator Collins is one of those rare lawmakers who doesn’t care who gets the credit, as long as we’re doing the right thing. The Prescription Drug Pricing Reduction Act is the right thing to do. And it’s time for Congress to do the right thing.”

 

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 after passing both the House of Representatives and the Senate with overwhelming bipartisan support. 

 

Earlier this 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 passed the Health Committee in June by a vote of 20-3. 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.  Earlier this year, 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.