U.S. Senator Tina Smith Introduces Bold Legislation to Tackle Skyrocketing Cost of Prescription Drugs

WASHINGTON D.C. [05/27/21]—Today U.S. Sen. Tina Smith (D-Minn.) introduced bold legislation to tackle the skyrocketing cost of prescription drugs. Sen. Smith’s Affordable Medications Act—supported by 13 of her Senate colleagues—would improve prescription drug transparency, access, innovation and competition to drive down costs for consumers and taxpayers. 

Sen. Smith, a member of the Senate Health Committee, said that her legislation will increase transparency for drug companies that are setting exorbitant prices and end the restriction that prevents the federal Medicare program from using its buying power to negotiate lower drug prices for its beneficiaries. The Affordable Medications Act will also promote innovation for new drugs and curb monopoly practices that keep prices high and prevent less expensive generics from coming to market.

“Addressing the skyrocketing price of prescription drugs is long overdue,”  said Sen. Smith. For far too long, pharmaceutical companies have been raking in staggering profits while many people in Minnesota and across the country struggle to pay for the medicine they need. My Affordable Medications Act will deliver bold improvements in prescription drug transparency, affordability, innovation and competition to address the root causes of this problem.” 

“Too many Americans still are forced to choose between paying for the medical treatments they need and other basic necessities,” said Margarida Jorge, Campaign Director for Lower Drug Prices Now. “The Affordable Medications Act is critical legislation that would hold pharmaceutical corporations — the most profitable industry in this country — accountable for rising drug prices, and allows Medicare to negotiate lower drug prices. Congress needs to take advantage of the opportunity they have right now to implement bold reforms that lower prescription drug prices and out-of-pocket costs for all Americans.”   

Sen. Smith’s Affordable Medications Act will:

  • Increase transparency by holding pharmaceutical companies accountable for their role in setting high prices;
  • Increase affordability by allowing Medicare to use its buying power to negotiate lower prices, and allowing for the safe importation of cheaper drugs from other countries, like Canada;
  • Spur innovation by creating an Innovation Incentive fund for new antibiotics, and publicly funding clinical trials for new drugs; and
  • Protect competition by blocking unfair and anticompetitive drug monopolies and helping more generic competitors come to market.

Sen. Smith’s Affordable Medications Act is supported by Sens. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.), Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.), Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.), Jeff Merkley (D-Ore.), Jack Reed (D-R.I.), Tammy Baldwin (D-Wis.), Maggie Hassan (D-N.H.), Cory Booker (D-N.J.), Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio), Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.), Sheldon Whitehouse (D-R.I.) and Richard Durbin (D-Ill.). 

The bill is endorsed by Lower Drug Prices Now, Public Citizen and Patients for Affordable Drugs Now.  

You can read a summary of the bill here and a section-by-section overview of the bill here.