our congressman on… PRESCRIPTION DRUG PRICES

Francis Rooney

I remain focused on bringing down the cost of prescription drugs for Florida’s seniors and am acting on three key issues: First, our seniors have subsidized low cost prescription drugs in foreign countries for years, an abuse that needs to stop.

Second, pharmaceutical companies do not compete for the prices of drugs under
Medicare Part D; in fact, they are affirmatively prevented by law from negotiating prices. Third, there is no transparency about how drugs are priced.

I have introduced the Drug Price Transparency Act to determine the feasibility of basing reimbursement rates for Medicare Part B drugs and covered Part D drugs on the average drug prices charged in the countries who are members of the
Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD). In these countries, identical drugs are often cheaper than here in the United States.

Further, with Congressman Peter Welch (D-VT), I introduced the Medicare Prescription Drug Price Negotiation Act. This act will require the Department of Health and Human Services to directly negotiate with pharmaceutical companies on the price of drugs covered under Medicare. Currently, the  government  is not able to directly negotiate drug prices for citizens utilizing Medicare Part D, resulting in inflated prices paid by seniors, many of whom live on a fixed income.

I see no reason why pharma should be shielded from competition. We all compete in our businesses so why not them? The Congressional Budget Office (CBO) estimates that spending on Medicare Part D benefits will total $99 billion in 2019 alone. Just five years after the creation of Part D, a report by the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform estimated that these much needed negotiations would save taxpayers $156 billion over ten years.

We know direct drug pricing negotiations work to bring down costs. In contrast to the Medicare program, the Department of Veterans Affairs can advocate lower prices for veterans. A 2018 report by the U.S. Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee revealed that Medicare pays 61 percent more for 20 commonly used drugs compared to the Veterans Affairs Administration.

Finally, I co-sponsored the bipartisan FAIR Drug Pricing Act, which would require drug companies to give notice and justification for raising the price of a drug 10 percent or more over a twelve-month period.

Prescription drug pricing is a critical issue that is hurting our seniors. It must be addressed with common sense, bipartisan solutions. We need to stop this egregious and unconscionable abuse which affects the 43 million American people who utilize Medicare Part D. I remain committed to solving this issue in the
116th Congress.

Francis Rooney is the U.S. Representative for Florida’s 19th congressional district. He is the Vice-Chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee and serves on the Committee on Education and the Workforce. He previously served as U.S. Ambassador to the Holy See under President George W. Bush from 2005 to 2008.


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