Pallone Calls for Congressional Action to Lower Prescription Drug Prices

Aug 28, 2017

Long Branch, NJ- Today at the Piscataway Senior Center, Congressman Frank Pallone, Jr. (NJ-06) discussed his efforts to lower prescription drug prices. As the Ranking Member of the Energy and Commerce Committee, which oversees healthcare, Congressman Pallone is working on legislation that would help reduce the cost of prescription drugs for seniors and working families. Middlesex County Freeholder Director Ron Rios, Piscataway Mayor Brian Wahler, other local officials and seniors attended the event.

National spending on prescription drugs has been sharply increasing for years. Drug prices increased an average of 12.6 percent in 2014 and 10 percent in 2015. In 2015, 16.7 percent of health care spending in the U.S. went to prescription drugs, compared to about seven percent in the 1990s.  Next year, annual drug spending is expected to reach more than $500 billion here in the U.S. 

“Prescription drug prices are higher than ever and American families and our health care system are suffering from staggering price hikes,” said Pallone. “It’s time to find workable solutions that will encourage the development of affordable and high quality drugs and incentivize the lower prices and transparency in the pharmaceutical marketplace, while also monitoring steep prescription drug price increases when they arise.”

Pallone discussed several legislative provisions that he is working on in Congress including the need to give Medicare the ability to negotiate prices with the drug companies and increased transparency and accountability for drug companies that provides the public with more information on pricing and alternatives.  Pallone plans to introduce comprehensive legislation to address rising prescription drug prices this fall. 

Lowering the cost of prescription drugs is a major piece of Congressional Democrats’ Better Deal Agenda, which calls for tough enforcement of drug price gouging, and requires drugs with a significant price increase to submit to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) a justification for the price before the change is made.