Bipartisan FAIR Drug Pricing Act Takes First Step to Address Skyrocketing Prescription Drug Costs

WASHINGTON, D.C. [05/09/19]—Today, U.S. Senator Tina Smith (D-Minn.) helped introduce bipartisan legislation to combat skyrocketing prescription drug prices.

The Fair Accountability and Innovative Research (FAIR) Drug Pricing Act would require drug manufacturers to disclose and provide more information about planned drug price increases, including research and development costs. Increased transparency will help provide much-needed context for taxpayers, consumers, and policymakers about the costs and value of medications, and may also incentivize companies to reassess the long-standing practice of relentless drug price increases. The bill was led by Sens. Tammy Baldwin (D-Wisc.) and Mike Braun (R-Ind.), and Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska) is a cosponsor.

I’ve traveled around Minnesota to talk with families, seniors, and communities. In these conversations, the topic of high prescription drug prices almost always comes up,” said Sen. Smith, a member of the Senate Health Committee. “The prices Minnesotans pay for medications is out of control and unsustainable. This bipartisan bill will force big pharmaceutical companies to think twice before they raise prices and keep them accountable to consumers and policymakers alike.   

The FAIR Drug Pricing Act is supported by AARP, Campaign for Sustainable Rx Pricing, National Multiple Sclerosis Society, Patients For Affordable Drugs, American College of Physicians (ACP), American Academy of Neurology, Blue Cross Blue Shield Association, The Medicare Rights Center, Families USA, Center for Medicare Advocacy, Inc., Marshfield Clinic Health System, Security Health Plan, Alliance of Community Health Plans (ACHP), National Committee to Preserve Social Security and Medicare, Alliance for Retired Americans, and Medicare Rights Center.

“Big Pharma has a demonstrated track record of price-gouging American patients and squeezing taxpayers with opaque list price increases,” said Campaign for Sustainable Rx Pricing (CSRxP) executive director Lauren Aronson. “The FAIR Drug Pricing Act would introduce much needed transparency to the marketplace by requiring drug makers to justify price hikes. We applaud the bipartisan leadership of the FAIR Drug Pricing Act’s sponsors.”

“Medications can only change lives if people can afford them,” said Bari Talente, Executive Vice President of Advocacy at the National Multiple Sclerosis Society. “While bringing down high prescription drug costs will require a combination of policy changes, the FAIR Drug Pricing Act will lead the way by requiring both advanced notice and justification of price increases above certain threshold amounts. Under these thresholds, several manufactures of MS disease-modifying therapies would need to justify price increases for their MS products. We applaud Senators Baldwin and Braun and Representatives Schakowsky and Rooney for taking this important first step to addressing high drug costs.”

“Drug corporations have their thumb on the scale of our drug pricing system, and the FAIR Drug Pricing Act pushes back. Patients are tired of drug companies raising prices without justification. The legislation from Senators Baldwin and Braun and Representatives Schakowsky and Rooney operates under a basic principle — if a drug company gouges patients, they must give an explanation for why they raise their price. That’s a welcome change from the broken status quo,” said David Mitchell, cancer patient and Founder of Patients For Affordable Drugs Now.

“ACHP members see the significant financial burden high prescription drug costs have on patients every single day,” said ACHP President and CEO Ceci Connolly. “Our nonprofit, community health plans are doing their best to help patients manage costs and access the treatments they need – but more action is necessary to get unsustainably high drug costs under control. ACHP is encouraged by the bill’s focus on transparency and accountability in drug pricing and thank Senators Baldwin and Braun for their leadership on this critical issue.”

You can access more information on the FAIR Drug Pricing Act here and text of the legislation is available here