WASHINGTON (December 7, 2021) -- Today, the Partnership to Fight Chronic Disease (PFCD) released the following statement following President Biden’s remarks on the costs of prescription drugs.
“Especially as Americans are still very much navigating a path forward from the COVID-19 pandemic, it is critically important that our leadership be thinking ahead on how to alleviate some of the challenges patients across the U.S. are facing, which includes purchasing their prescription drugs. We commend efforts to lower people’s out-of-pocket costs for their medications and urge policymakers to do more to address the multiple drivers of drug costs for consumers.
“The Build Back Better Act includes some important steps to cap seniors’ out of pocket costs for drugs under Medicare Part D and to limit out-of-pocket costs for insulin in the US. The proposal would limit seniors’ out-of-pocket expenses to $2,000 per year. This is good progress, but more can and should be done to address the complex drug pricing system and assure the reality of consumers enjoying more of the savings. Even at $2,000, the out-of-pocket expenses can be a burden for those in Medicare living with multiple chronic conditions. Congress can and should do something to reduce expenses below the $2,000 limit.
“For example, often people with Medicare pay the full, list price for their medicines when meeting their deductibles or are charged coinsurance based on the full, list price of a medicine – even though their Medicare plan pays significantly less because of negotiated discounts or rebates. Policymakers should act to make sure consumers benefit at the pharmacy counter from those savings without facing potential compromise in taking the medications they need as prescribed.
“The pandemic is a wake-up call to all of us on the profound importance of biomedical innovation. While we believe it’s important to cut prescription costs, policy changes must be balanced to ensure that access to innovative new therapies and their development are not harmed. Medicare prescription drug cuts alone will not ensure that patients will have access to current therapies to help manage chronic conditions like diabetes, cancer and cardiovascular disease and access to new innovative therapies in the pipeline or not yet discovered.
“We have serious concerns about any proposals that would enable the federal government to arbitrarily set reference prices. The Congressional Budget Office and others have projected that recent legislative proposals on drug pricing will result in fewer new medicines.
“During the pandemic, each of us experienced what it was like to have an unmet medical need that threatened our health or that of loved ones. Millions of people in America live with other unmet medical needs that wholly depend on the biomedical innovation for answers. There are ways to reduce costs without undermining the innovation that benefit us today and will also be needed tomorrow. We urge policymakers to consider the long-term impact of policy changes and avoid harming biomedical innovation."
The Partnership to Fight Chronic Disease (PFCD) is an international coalition of patient, provider, community, business and labor groups, and health policy experts, committed to raising awareness of the number one cause of death, disability and rising health care costs: chronic disease.