U.S. Rep. Frank Pallone, D-6th District, discussed his comprehensive plan to lower prescription drug costs in Long Branch on Monday.
Last month, Pallone introduced House Resolution 3, the Lower Drug Costs Now Act, which would lower prescription drug costs by empowering the federal government to negotiate lower prices for Americans, stopping drug companies from charging Americans more than other countries for the same drugs, and creating a $2,000 out-of-pocket limit on prescription drug costs for seniors through Medicare Part D.
According to Pallone, in New Jersey the average annual cost of prescription drugs rose nearly 58 percent between 2012 to 2017. In 2017, 24 percent of New Jersey residents did not take medication as prescribed because of high costs.
Currently, prescription drug companies often charge Americans three, four, or even 10 times more for their prescriptions than what they charge for the same drugs in other countries. In many cases, these companies also often raise the prices of their drugs each year faster than the rate of inflation.
“It’s long past time to give the federal government the authority to negotiate drug prices with the pharmaceutical manufacturers in order to reduce costs for consumers,” Pallone said. “It’s time we negotiate a better deal for the American people.”
The Lower Drug Costs Now Act would:
- End the ban on Medicare negotiating directly with drug companies and create tools to force drug companies to the table to agree to real price reductions,
- Give all Americans access to lower drug prices negotiated by the federal government,
- Stop drug companies from overcharging Americans while charging other countries less for the same drugs by limiting the maximum price for any negotiated drug to be in line with the average price in countries like the U.S.,
- Create a $2,000 out-of-pocket limit on prescription drug costs for Medicare beneficiaries and reverse years of price hikes above inflation across thousands of drugs in Medicare, and
- Reinvest in innovation and the search for new cures and treatments.
Pallone hopes to use the anticipated cost-savings to reinvest in the search for new breakthrough treatments and cures at the National Institutes of Health, as well as investing in U.S. health care including improvements to Medicare.
Pallone was joined by state Sen. Vin Gopal, D-11th District; Assemblywoman Joann Downey, D-11th District; Assemblyman Eric Houghtaling , D-11th District; Brendon Blake from AARP New Jersey; and Maura Collingsgru of New Jersey Citizen Action.