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ICYMI: White House Issues Principles for Reducing Drug Costs

Washington, D.C. -- In a Wall Street Journal op-ed penned by Joe Grogan, Director of the White House Domestic Policy Council, the Administration outlined five principles for reducing drug costs while maintaining America’s strength in pharmaceutical innovation.  The Lower Costs, More Cures Act, introduced in the Senate on December 19, 2019, meets and exceeds the principles outlined by Director Grogan. 

“America’s biopharmaceutical manufacturers have brought life-saving therapies to patients,” said Senator Crapo.  “Their continued leadership is necessary to find the cures of the future.  However, these drugs are only effective if patients can afford them.  When I introduced the Lower Costs, More Cures Act with my Senate colleagues, I committed to lowering drug prices by relying on the proven market-based principles of competition and transparency.  President Trump has made drug pricing reform a priority, and I will continue to work with him to pass legislation that will bring lower costs to patients and encourage the development more cures.” 

“America’s ability to innovate, especially when it comes to medical advancements, sets us apart from any other nation in the world,” said Senator Burr. “But we must improve the affordability of prescription drugs for American seniors and families.  I joined Senator Crapo in introducing the Lower Costs, More Cures Act to offer strong solutions that will help lower drug costs and increase price transparency - without imposing price controls.  I look forward to continue working with the Administration on our shared priorities of lowering drug costs and leading medical advancements for years to come.” 

“Throughout my career, I’ve worked to ensure that Americans have access to affordable, high-quality health care, which cannot be done if patients can’t afford their prescriptions,” Senator Enzi said.  “This bill focuses on ideas with strong bipartisan support that can lower prescription drug costs while not hindering the innovation or development of new drugs.  I am committed to working on this issue so folks in Wyoming and across the country face fewer challenges when getting their medication.” 

“The gains being realized in the American biopharmaceutical market are matched by none, but over the years, patients have watched in dismay as the prices of their prescription medications have soared out of financial reach,” said Senator Risch. “Effective drug-pricing reform will require a bipartisan and collaborative effort between lawmakers and the administration.  The reforms outlined in the Lower Costs, More Cures Act will deliver greater consumer pricing transparency, spur innovation in the pharmaceutical field, and ensure Idahoans and all Americans have access to the treatments and cures they deserve.  I look forward to continue working with Senator Crapo, my colleagues in the Senate, and the White House to achieve this relief for patients everywhere.” 

The Lower Costs, More Cures Act builds on the successful Medicare Part D program and realigns incentives in Medicare Parts B and D to ensure drugs are affordable and accessible.  The bill meets and exceeds the principles outlined by the Administration by:

  • Placing a $3,100 annual out-of-pocket cap on expenses in Medicare Part D and allowing beneficiaries to pay in monthly installments;
  • Providing protection against the cost cliff created by Obamacare;
  • Realigning incentives in Medicare Part D to encourage insurers to negotiate better prices and put downward pressure on drug list prices.  By requiring manufacturers and insurers to pay a higher share of the costs in Part D, companies will no longer be able to excessively profit off high costs and yearly price increases; and
  • Changing the reimbursement structure for drugs in Medicare Part B to incent providers to prescribe the lowest cost, most effective drug to patients. 

S. 3129, the Lower Costs, More Cures Act, is co-sponsored by Senators Jim Risch (R-Idaho), Richard Burr (R-North Carolina), Mike Enzi (R-Wyoming), John Barrasso (R-Wyoming), Thom Tillis (R-North Carolina), Joni Ernst (R-Iowa) and David Perdue (R-Georgia).  Representative Greg Walden (R-Oregon) introduced legislation similar to S. 3129 in the House of Representatives.  Representatives Mike Simpson (R-Idaho) and Russ Fulcher (R-Idaho) co-sponsored the House bill that has received bipartisan support.