August 3, 2018
The Honorable Jan Schakowsky
2367 Rayburn House Office Building
Washington, DC 20515
Dear Representative Schakowsky,
On behalf of the millions of members and supporters of the National Committee to Preserve Social Security and Medicare, I write to enthusiastically endorse your bill, H.R. 6574, the Medicare Fair Drug Pricing Act. Your legislation would allow the Secretary of Health & Human Services (HHS) to negotiate prices with pharmaceutical companies when drugs lack sufficient competition. It also allows the Secretary to set a drug’s price when HHS and drug manufacturers fail to agree on one.
This legislation arrives at a time when drug prices are increasingly burdening seniors with high out-of-pocket costs and are a drain on the Medicare program. According to the Office of the Inspector General (OIG), U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, government payments to drug manufacturers for brand-name drugs (accounting for manufacturer rebates) increased 62 percent from 2011 to 2015 despite a 17 percent reduction in the number of brand prescription drugs covered under Medicare. The OIG found that this sharp increase in per unit costs is harming seniors; the number of beneficiaries responsible for out-of-pocket costs of at least $2,000 rose from 3.7 percent in 2011 to 7.3 percent in 2015.
The National Committee therefore strongly supports H.R. 6574 because it provides HHS with tools to obtain rationale prices for new drugs that have limited, or no, competition. If enacted, H.R. 6574 will lessen the financial burden for seniors and help sustain the financial viability of the Medicare program. We applaud your leadership on this important issue.
President & CEO