Congresswoman DeLauro proposes pharma price legislation
Congresswoman Rosa DeLauro (CT-03) has announced the Prescription Drug and Medical Device Review Board Act, new legislation that would create a national review board to stop pharmaceutical corporations from charging consumers excessive prices. According to a recent report released by IMS Health Holdings, annual spending on prescription medications has skyrocketed in the U.S. in recent years, and is projected to increase by 22% over the next five years, climbing to as high as $400 billion by 2020.
“While American families are paying for increases in medication prices, pharmaceutical corporations are collecting record profits. These companies grow their businesses with the benefit of taxpayer-sponsored research, our skilled workforce, our infrastructure, and tax incentives, only to then gouge those same taxpayers—putting life-saving medicine out of reach for many,” said DeLauro. “The need for more oversight was made clear with Mylan’s recent behavior, which put corporate profits ahead of the health and safety of American children and families. It is irresponsible, inexcusable, and dangerous. While not all companies have engaged in these predatory practices, we must hold bad actors accountable.”
There have been several recent cases of pharmaceutical companies charging consumers excessive prices, including when:
- Mylan raised the price of lifesaving EpiPens from $100 per two-pack in 2008, to more than $600 in 2016, while at the same time, the CEO’s pay soared more than 700 percent to $19 million;
- Turing Pharmaceuticals purchased Daraprim—a drug used to treat illnesses that are common among AIDS patients—and overnight raised its price from $13.50 per pill to $750 per pill;
- The Hepatitis C drug Sovaldi—which can cure the disease over a 12 week period of treatment—came onto the market at $1,000 per pill and $84,000 for a full course of treatment in the U.S.; and
- Valeant Pharmaceuticals raised the price of Targretin—which is used to treat skin conditions associated with cancer from $31.98 in 2010 to $145.65 in 2014.
DeLauro’s legislation would establish an Interagency Drug and Device Price Review Board to collect data on drug and device prices and manufacturing costs, and if necessary, take enforcement action against manufacturers that charge consumers excessive prices. This bill will ensure that American families retain access to life-saving drugs by allowing the Price Review Board to take enforcement action against pharmaceutical corporations, including shortening monopoly protections, imposing monetary fines, and recouping previous tax benefits for life saving treatments.
DeLauro’s bill has been endorsed by the Center for Medicare Advocacy, the Connecticut State Medical Society, and AIDS CT. DeLauro plans to introduce the legislation as soon as Congress returns to Washington next month.