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09.21.2018 / Press Release

Congress Must Put People Before Pharmaceutical Company Profits

Families USA and Public Citizen Issue a Joint Statement About Drug Companies’ Abusive Tactics

Washington, D.C.— Earlier this year, as part of a bipartisan budget deal reached in Congress, policymakers agreed to increase the discounts the pharmaceutical industry must provide for drugs purchased in the Medicare Part D “donut hole” from 50 percent to 70 percent. That increased discount will result in lower federal government and beneficiary spending for prescription drugs in Part D through lower premiums, as well as lower costs for health plans. Now, pharmaceutical manufacturers are seeking to undo this policy by attaching unrelated provisions to bipartisan legislation that is intended to address substance use disorder.

The following are statements from Frederick Isasi, executive director of Families USA and Robert Weissman, President of Public Citizen:

“As Congress seeks to finalize bipartisan legislation to help address our nation’s substance use disorder epidemic, pharmaceutical companies are seeking a $4 billion windfall that would leave seniors and other taxpayers holding the bag. This effort to weaken Medicare coverage is shamelessly attached to a bill to address the nation’s opioid crisis. Congress must put the needs of patients and consumers around the country struggling to afford medicines ahead of the demands of prescription drug company lobbyists. With the elections just six weeks away, seniors and other voters will be paying close attention to whether their members of Congress stood up for their constituents or folded in the face of drug company pressure.”

– Frederick Isasi, JD, MPH

“Drug company lobbyists are flooding the Hill, asking Congress to let them charge even higher prices. Not because of the cost of making medicines or the cost of research and development, but simply so they drug companies, already among the most profitable industries in the country, can make even more. That they are doing so in connection to address the opioid addiction epidemic that Big Pharma itself had a big hand in creating only adds to the disgrace. Poll after poll shows that voters want policymakers to enact policies to slash the cost of drugs, not give in to pharmaceutical company demands for ever higher profits. Any lawmaker who colludes with Big Pharma on this deal should expect to be held accountable on Election Day.”

– Robert Weissman, JD, President, Public Citizen