REP. LIEU STATEMENT ON THE ELIJAH E. CUMMINGS LOWER DRUG COSTS NOW ACT

December 13, 2019
Press Release

Landmark Legislation Would Give Medicare the Power to Negotiate with the Drug Companies
and Bring Down Costs for Californians with Private Insurance Too

WASHINGTONCongressman Ted W. Lieu (CA-33) issued the following statement upon House passage of H.R. 3, the Elijah E. Cummings Lower Drug Costs Now Act. If enacted, the bill will give Medicare the power to negotiate directly with the drug companies to bring down prices and make those savings available to Californians with private insurance too, not just those on Medicare.

“Lowering the cost of prescription drugs is essential. No one should go broke trying to pay for lifesaving medication,” said Lieu. “This week’s vote is the House Majority delivering on a promise to lower health care costs for Americans. Independent experts found that the Lower Drug Costs Now Act would save American households $120 billion, save private businesses more than $40 billion and save taxpayers approximately $500 billion. Right now, U.S. drug prices are nearly four times higher than the combined average of 11 other similar countries, and Americans pay as much as 67 times more than consumers in other nations for prescription drugs.”

THE LOWER DRUG COSTS NOW ACT WOULD LOWER DRUGS COSTS AND EXPAND BENEFITS:

The Lower Drug Costs Now Act would:

  • Give Medicare the power to negotiate directly with the drug companies to bring down prices and create powerful new tools to force drug companies to the table to agree to real price reductions.
  • Make the lower drug prices negotiated by Medicare available to Americans with private insurance too, not just those on Medicare.
  • Stop drug companies ripping off Americans while charging other countries less for the same drugs by limiting the maximum price for any negotiated drug.
  • Create a new $2,000 out-of-pocket limit on prescription drug costs for people on Medicare.
  • Save taxpayers approximately $500 billion over the next ten years and reinvest that savings into:
    • Expanding Medicare benefits to cover things like dental, vision and hearing,
    • Combatting the addiction crisis, and
    • Researching new cures and treatments.

THE LOWER DRUG COSTS NOW ACT WOULD SAVE MONEY:

Independent experts found the Lower Drug Costs Now Act would:

  • Save American households $120 billion.
  • Save private businesses more than $40 billion.
  • Save taxpayers approximately $500 billion and reinvests that savings to expand benefits.

THE LOWER DRUG COSTS NOW ACT WOULD HELP CALIFORNIA PATIENTS:

According to a report by the House Committee on Ways and Means:

  • DiabetesAbout 10 percent of Californians - 3,088,741 people - are living with diabetes. For the most commonly used insulin medications, California residents spend anywhere from $1,200 to $20,000 annually.

Under H.R. 3, California residents could spend 3.5 times less on insulin. H.R. 3 can lower the average total cost of the insulin NovoLOG Flexpen by 76% from about $19,800 to $4,800 per year. Under H.R. 3, some commonly used insulins can cost as little as $400 per year.

  • Arthritis - 18.3% of California residents have arthritis, 29.3% of whom experience severe joint pain because of it. H.R. 3 can lower their total costs on most arthritis drugs from about $40,000 to $10,000 per year.
  • Asthma – About 7.9% or 2,398,304 California residents live with asthma. H.R. 3 can lower their total costs on most asthma drugs from about $1,400 to $270 per year.
  • HIV/AIDS –  In 2015, 4,495 California residents were diagnosed with HIV. H.R. 3 can lower their total costs on most HIV drugs from about $15,000 to $6,000 per year.
  • Multiple Sclerosis – One million people are living with Multiple Sclerosis (MS) in the United States. H.R. 3 can lower their total costs on most MS drugs from about $40,000 to $13,000 per year.

Additional Background on the Lower Drug Costs Now Act can be found HERE.