It’s become an all-too-common story…
America’s drug industry has raised the prices of nearly 400 generic drugs by over 1,000% between 2008 and 2015. The truth is, these drugs are not cutting-edge and revolutionary discoveries but in fact many weren’t even developed by the company which jacked up the price. Instead, these lifesaving treatments, which have often been on the market for years, are being bought with the purpose of raising the price and maximizing profits.
Remember Turing and pharma bad-boy Martin Shkreli’s decision to raise the cost of a life-saving AIDS drug 5,000%? Most recently we have pharma giant, Mylan’s, announcement that EpiPen’s price tag would jump more than 400%. Skyrocketing costs for prescription drugs certainly isn’t news for America’s seniors who’ve already seen a growing percentage of their retirement income eaten away by health care costs but the trend continues.
That’s why today’s announcement by the Clinton campaign to create a consumer panel to protect Americans from unjustified price hikes is especially welcomed by seniors.
“The National Committee’s members and supporters applaud Hillary Clinton’s plan to create a consumer response team to identify and intervene in cases where drug manufacturers are hiking costs without justification. For too long America’s drug industry has been allowed to raise prices excessively for treatments that have been available for years. The recent EpiPen 400% price hike is just the latest example of companies putting profits ahead of patients. The sky-rocketing cost of prescription drugs is hurting average Americans, our health system and the federal budget.
This growing trend is especially harmful for seniors who spend a higher percentage of their income on healthcare costs and have seen their prescription drug costs grow exponentially in recent years. The Medicare Trustees report out-of-pocket costs, premiums and cost-sharing consumes 23 percent of the average Social Security check. This trend is devastating for America’s seniors.
This move, combined with Clinton’s early proposal to allow Medicare to negotiate drug prices and demand higher rebates for beneficiaries are important proposals which could make a real difference in the fiscal and physical health of millions of American seniors.” …Max Richtman, NCPSSM President/CEO
According to her statement, this newest addition to Clinton’s prescription drug plan would:
“establish dedicated consumer oversight at our public health and competition agencies. They will determine an unjustified, outlier price increase based on specific criteria including:
1) the trajectory of the price increase;
2) the cost of production; and
3) the relative value to patients, among other factors that pose a threat to public health.
Should an excessive, outlier price increase be determined for a long-standing treatment, Hillary’s plan would make new enforcement tools available, including:
Making alternatives available and increasing competition: Directly intervening to make treatments available, and supporting alternative manufacturers that enter the market and increase competition, to bring down prices and spur innovation in new treatments.
Emergency importation of safe treatments: Broadening access to safe, high-quality alternatives through emergency importation from developed countries with strong safety standards.
Penalties for unjustified price increases to hold drug companies accountable and fund expanded access: Holding drug makers accountable for unjustified price increases with new penalties, such as fines – and using the funds or savings to expand access and competition.”
A Kaiser Family Foundation poll found a large majority of the public (72%) view the cost of prescription drugs as unreasonable. Our NCPSSM polling, and many others too, shows most Americans across party lines support allowing Medicare to negotiate with drug companies as a way to lower drug costs for seniors. Reigning in high drugs costs is a critical step to making America’s health care more affordable for both patients and federal programs like Medicare.