A group of U.S. Senators has urged President Barack Obama to call for legislation banning so-called pay-for-delay deals among drugmakers that drive up prescription drug prices and leave patients “with the unimaginable choice of foregoing life-saving care or depleting family savings.”
The group, which includes Sen. Bernie Sanders and at least seven others, urged the president to include in his upcoming 2017 budget measures that would soften this burden on families. The plan includes actions such as banning reverse payment drug patient settlements that allegedly delay generic competition to brand-name drugs, requiring drugmakers to offer rebates to low-income Medicare Part D subsidy enrollees, and allowing the Department of Health and Human Services to negotiate drug prices for biologics and other expensive prescription drugs.
The senators commended President Obama for including many items in his 2016 proposed budget; however, they said the “dramatic rise” in prescription drug spending had necessitated new measures be taken. The lawmakers urged the president to address “changing dynamics” in the pharmaceutical industry that have led to significant increases in generic drug costs. The senators called for policies to increase competition among manufacturers of generic drugs and prevent drug companies from “gouging prices on essential medicines.”
The request comes just months after former Turing Pharmaceuticals CEO Martin Shkreil raised red flags after he gained the rights to the anti-parasite drug Daraprim and raised the price 5,000 percent to $75,000 per bottle. The senators wrote:
Most Americans agree that current drug costs are unreasonable. We applaud the measures your administration has advanced in the past on prescription drugs and hope that you will expand on them in next year’s budget.
Hopefully Congress will take the needed action to bring about the changes asked for. The powerful drug manufacturers have been taking advantage of their tremendous influence in Congress and also with the FDA for years. The consuming public has been hurt as a result. Hopefully, that will change after the general election.
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