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Pallone Discusses Comprehensive Legislation to Lower Prescription Drug Costs

October 7, 2019
Press Release
Spending on prescription drugs in New Jersey rose 58 percent between 2012 and 2017

Long Branch, NJ – Today, Congressman Frank Pallone, Jr. (NJ-06) discussed his bold, comprehensive plan to lower prescription drug costs. He was joined by Senator Vin Gopal, Assemblywoman Joann Downey, Assemblyman Eric Houghtaling, Brendon Blake from AARP New Jersey, and Maura Collingsgru of New Jersey Citizen Action. Last month, Pallone introduced H.R. 3, the Lower Drug Costs Now Act, which will lower prescription drug costs by empowering the federal government to negotiate lower prices for Americans, stopping drug companies from ripping off Americans and charging them more than other countries for the same drugs and creating a new, $2,000 out-of-pocket limit on prescription drug costs for seniors through Medicare Part D.  

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 ten 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.

“New Jerseyans should not have to choose between making a rent payment, putting food on the table, and affording lifesaving prescription medications,” Congressman Pallone said. “That’s why I introduced legislation that will lower prescription drug costs and invest in new treatments and cures. 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. It’s time we negotiate a better deal for the American people.”   

The Lower Drug Costs Now Act would level the playing field for American patients and taxpayers by:

  • Ending the ban on Medicare negotiating directly with drug companies, and creating powerful new tools to force drug companies to the table to agree to real price reductions.
  • Giving all Americans access to lower drug prices negotiated by the federal government.
  • Stopping drug companies from ripping off 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 ours.
  • Creating a new, $2,000 out-of-pocket limit on prescription drug costs for Medicare beneficiaries and reversing years of unfair price hikes above inflation across thousands of drugs in Medicare.
  • Reinvesting in innovation and the search for new cures and treatments. Pallone hopes to use the anticipated cost-savings from lowering drug prices to reinvest in the search for new breakthrough treatments and cures at the National Institutes of Health, as well as investing in our nation’s health care including improvements to Medicare.

“You shouldn’t have to pay a premium for the privilege of having a negotiator on your side,” said New Jersey State Senator Vin Gopal (D-Long Branch). “It’s time to give Medicare real muscle against price-gouging middlemen and drug manufacturers - because if they're going to jack up prices to try and squeeze American taxpayers for every last cent, then America’s taxpayers have a right to tell them: 'No, thanks - we’re taking our money somewhere else.' Every patient deserves to have an advocate, and I'm glad to see Congressman Pallone leading the way to make that happen.”

 

“H.R. 3 represents the kind of bold action we need to rein in prescription drug prices. Americans pay many more times what people in other developed countries pay for medicine because we have allowed price gouging by the pharmaceutical industry to go unchecked for far too long,” said Maura Collinsgru, Health Care Program Director, New Jersey Citizen Action. “We shouldn't have to pay so much. Negotiating price and requiring pharmaceutical companies to justify price increases is an important first step in the right direction. We urge all our congressional representatives to join Congressman Pallone and sign on in support of this much needed legislation.”

“There is no reason for Americans to continue paying the highest prescription drug prices in the world. We need immediate action to lower prices, as older adults are particularly hard-hit by outrageously high prescription drug prices. AARP, on behalf of its nearly 38 million members and all older Americans nationwide, supports Chairman Pallone’s H.R. 3, the Lower Drug Costs Now Act of 2019 that will help ensure that more Americans have affordable access to the prescription drugs that they need to get and stay healthy,” said Evelyn Liebman, Director of Advocacy, AARP New Jersey.

“For too long, workers across New Jersey have spent far too much on prescription drugs. I applaud Congressman Pallone for his leadership on the Lower Drug Costs Now Act because it will go a long way to lower prescription drugs costs for all Americans and provide the relief hardworking Americans deserve. No one should have to choose between putting food on the table and paying for lifesaving medication,” said Charles Wowkanech, President of New Jersey AFL-CIO.

 

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