Washington, D.C. — Today, Reps. Scott Peters (D-CA), Kathleen Rice (D-NY), and Kurt Schrader (D-OR) announced that they would oppose the drugs subtitle of the U.S. House of Representatives Energy and Commerce Committee chairman’s mark of the Build Back Better Act. This component of the package would empower Medicare to negotiate for lower drug prices, reining in Big Pharma’s excessive profits and generating hundreds of billions of dollars in savings to reinvest in the American people’s health care. Patrick Gaspard, president and CEO of the Center for American Progress, released the following statement:
Big Pharma has increased drug prices for decades, putting lifesaving medications out of reach for millions of Americans and forcing them to pay two to four times more for the same prescription drugs as patients in peer, wealthy nations. That is why the American people overwhelmingly support empowering Medicare to negotiate for fair, lower drug prices—and making those prices available under all health plans.
In opposing the chairman’s mark, Reps. Peters, Rice, and Schrader are prioritizing drug company profits over lower drug prices for the American people, particularly for patients with chronic conditions such as diabetes and multiple sclerosis. To the contrary of what they contend, their opposition to the drugs proposal threatens the entirety of President Joe Biden’s Build Back Better agenda. In particular, it jeopardizes the plan’s provisions to improve the research and development of new therapeutics, expand access to care for seniors and people with disabilities, reduce racial disparities in health care, and improve maternal health.
Drug companies can hire an army of lobbyists and advertising executives, but they cannot drown out the voices of the American people. I encourage every American to make their voice heard and let their members of Congress know that they support empowering Medicare to lower drug prices. We look forward to working with leadership to ensure that the final bill delivers on the president’s promise to lower drug costs for the American people.
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