AHF Lauds Introduction of Medicare Drug Price Negotiation Bill

In Advocacy, News by AHF

The Medicare Prescription Drug Negotiation Act (S. 31) introduced by Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-MN) and 6 co-sponsors, gives the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) the authority to negotiate drug prices on behalf of all Medicare beneficiaries.

 AHF calls Medicare negotiation a ‘no brainer’ that will counter pharma’s out-of-control pricing of specialty drugs, such as Gilead’s Harvoni – a new treatment for Hepatitis C that is priced at over $1,100 per pill.

WASHINGTON (January 16, 2015) AIDS Healthcare Foundation (AHF), the largest global AIDS organization and an outspoken advocate against runaway drug pricing for lifesaving HIV/AIDS and other medications, today lauded the introduction of S. 31, the Medicare Prescription Drug Negotiation Act of 2015 by Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-MN). The bill provides the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) the authority to negotiate drug price discounts on behalf of all Medicare beneficiaries, reversing a 2003 law that prevents the federal government from negotiating drug prices for Medicare.

“Enabling the federal government to negotiate drug prices for Medicare is a no brainer,” said Michael Weinstein, AHF President. “Every other government-funded health program has the ability to negotiate prices for the drugs it purchases. By preventing Medicare from doing the same, we have been giving away money to pharma at the cost of access to care for patients in need.”

Medicare’s ability to negotiate the price it pays for drugs is increasingly important as newer and pricier specialty medications are introduced, such as Gilead’s Harvoni, a Hepatitis C treatment the company priced at over $1,100 per pill (over $94,000 per person for a full course of treatment). According to a June 2014 analysis by Health Affairs, this drug alone could cost Medicare $6.5 billion, an eight percent increase in enrollee premiums — a bigger increase than in any year since 2008.

“When given the power to set prices unilaterally, pharma has shown that there is no limit to what it will charge for new drugs, even if it means denying access to care for millions of people,” added Weinstein. “We applaud Sen. Klobuchar for her leadership on this issue and urge her colleagues to follow suit by passing S.31 into law this year.”

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