RxRights takes part in panel discussion on drug prices

Our lead organizer, Lee Graczyk, was part of a panel in Minneapolis last week organized by Senators Amy Klobuchar (D-MN) and Tammy Baldwin (D-WI) regarding drug prices.

The panel discussed methods of lowering prescription drug prices related to the senators’ new legislation. In January, they introduced S.41, the Medicare Prescription Drug Price Negotiation Act—which would allow Medicare to negotiate the best possible prices for prescription drugs (currently, it is banned from bargaining).

Graczyk pointed out that pharmaceutical executives have admitted they raise prices because just because they can. He spoke of the fact that even though dramatic price increases are the ones in the news, smaller incremental increases add up and affect many more people—particularly older adults on fixed incomes.

The law would reportedly help ease the drug cost burden for 41 million seniors across the country.

“We’ve seen outrageous increases for the top 10 selling drugs in America—they’ve gone up more than 100 percent, so the time has come to get this done,” Sen. Klobuchar said to a local news station.

This bill is similar to legislation introduced in the past, which struggled to gain bipartisan support.

During his campaign, Donald Trump expressed support for allowing Medicare to negotiate drug prices. Since becoming President, he has said the pharmaceutical industry is “getting away with murder.”

After meeting with pharma lobbyists yesterday, President Trump appears to have softened his position on the issue. He said tax cuts and deregulation for pharmaceutical companies will help remedy the problem, by ensuring more drugs are produced in the United States. He also mentioned the need to “increase competition and bidding wars,” to bring prices down, though it’s not clear how he intends to accomplish this goal.

Watch a news clip from the event below.

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