Legislative Update for Week Ending February 19, 2016

Legislative Update for Week Ending February 19, 2016

This week, action on Capitol Hill was slow as lawmakers in the House and Senate adjourned for the Presidents’ Day holiday. However, The Senior Citizens League (TSCL) did submit a statement to one House committee on recent price increases in the prescription drug industry.

TSCL Submits Statement to Congress On Rising Drug Prices

This week, TSCL submitted a statement to the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee in response to the high-profile hearing it held two weeks ago called Developments in the Prescription Drug Market.

The statement shares the story of Millicent Graves of Williamsburg, Virginia who was shocked last year when the retail price of her generic psoriasis medication jumped by 1,691% in just over three months. She told TSCL, “When I looked at the receipt I almost passed out … Where is that money going? I think the government needs to investigate.” She also told TSCL she would be limiting her use of the medication to avoid hitting the Part D doughnut hole, where she would be required to cover 58 percent of the cost of the drug this year.

In addition, the statement urges members of the Oversight Committee to support the Prescription Drug Affordability Act (S. 2023, H.R. 3513), which was introduced by Sen. Bernie Sanders (VT) and Rep. Elijah Cummings (MD-7) last fall.

The bill, if adopted, would take several important steps toward reducing prescription drug costs. It would authorize price negotiation by the government, allow prescription drug reimportation from Canada, prohibit pay-for-delay deals between companies, increase penalties for fraud convictions, and require greater price transparency. It would also close the doughnut hole three years earlier than current law and restore rebates for low-income Medicare beneficiaries.

The statement reads: “[TSCL’s members] believe that corporate greed in the industry is currently going un-checked, resulting in intolerably steep and life-threatening price increases for consumers. TSCL’s members know that Congress can act to improve the system’s flaws, and they believe it is time for legislative action to occur.”

To read the text of the entire statement submitted to the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee this week, click here. To help TSCL build support for the Prescription Drug Affordability Act, we encourage our members and supporters to contact their representatives in Congress to request their official cosponsorship. You can find contact information here.