It’s Time to Pass the Lower Drug Costs Now!
For too long, seniors and their families in Oregon have been crippled by the soaring cost of prescription drugs they need to live healthy lives. According to AARP, the average annual cost of these drugs rose nearly 60 percent between 2012 to 2017. This is totally unconscionable and no American should have to pay an arm and a leg for the medication they need to live pain-free. That’s why I spoke on the House floor today in strong support of this lifesaving legislation.
It is high time that our struggling seniors are given the right to negotiate drug costs like we have in commercial plans, the VA, DOD and Medicaid. Price negotiation is a free market principle that our country embraces in almost every other aspect of life.
H.R. 3 also limits Medicare part D out of pocket drug costs to $2,000 a year. We must make sure that seniors can afford their medicine and are able to avoid costly hospital stays. Finally, the bill places a limit on inflationary cost increases for drugs that have been on the market for a long time. It’s time to shine a bright light on what’s been going on.
Last week, in my Energy and Commerce committee, my bipartisan BIOSIM Act was the only amendment added to the Lower Drug Costs Now Act. My bill will offer greater incentives for the creation of biosimilar drugs which are lower cost generic versions of biologic drugs. Biologics are often used by those with rare diseases and can be extremely expensive. More generic versions of biologics will save Oregonians money and save lives! The bill passed unanimously. But we’re not done yet.
It is time for action by Republicans and Democrats to bring relief to hardworking Americans who are struggling to buy the medications they need to live healthy lives. I look forward to casting my vote for HR 3 on the House floor very soon!
Kurt Schrader, D-Oregon