Washington, D.C. — Today, Rep. Lloyd Doggett (D-TX) and over 50 other lawmakers issued a letter urging the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, or HHS, to use its statutory authority to help mitigate the rising cost of prescription drugs. Topher Spiro, Vice President for Health Policy at the Center for American Progress, issued the following statement in support of this action:
CAP commends the more than 50 lawmakers in the House who recognize that enough is enough when it comes to the skyrocketing costs of pharmaceuticals. For months now, public opinion polls have shown that consumers, regardless of their political affiliation, are demanding reforms to lower drug prices. One such road to reform is to implement strong executive actions that will help lower costs, improve public health, and jump-start innovation.
The National Institutes of Health, or NIH, is at the front line of innovation in the health care and medical fields. It’s only fair to the American people that HHS finally sets official guidelines on “march-in rights” for the licensing of patents that resulted from federally funded NIH research but are now owned by pharmaceutical companies. If a drug company price-gouges, taxpayers should not have to pay twice—once for the research and again for the excessive price. In such a case, it’s time to unleash market competition by allowing other companies to market the drug.
Read the letter from members of Congress here.
In September, CAP released a set of integrated reforms that challenged lawmakers and public officials to make halting the rising cost of prescription drugs a priority for the year ahead. In the report, CAP offers new policy recommendations on how to lower costs for consumers, bring about transparency to the pharmaceutical industry, and encourage innovation through rewarding drugs that show a measurable benefit to patients, including a range of options that are available without the need for any new federal legislation.
For more information on this topic or to speak with an expert, contact Liz Bartolomeo at firstname.lastname@example.org or 202.481.8151.