Major Defeat for Big Pharma
(LOS ANGELES) August 7, 2022 – AIDS Healthcare Foundation welcomes the U.S. Senate’s vote to approve historic legislation empowering Medicare to lower drug prices.
“I particularly want to thank President Biden. In his persistent and dogged determination, the president didn’t give up. He prodded, cajoled and pushed his former Senate colleagues to bring home this win for so many people who can’t afford their medications,” said AIDS Healthcare Foundation President Michael Weinstein. “We urge swift approval in the U.S. House of Representatives so the president can sign this bill into law.
The U.S. Senate approved the Inflation Reduction Act of 2022, historic legislation that finally gives Medicare, the largest payer of prescription drugs, the power to negotiate drug prices. Since 2003, U.S. law, that the drug industry promoted, explicitly prohibits the federal government from negotiating lower drug prices on behalf of Medicare beneficiaries. In 2019, total Medicare Part D spending was $180 billion.
(Source: A Data Book: Health Care Spending and the Medicare Program (PDF). Medicare Payment Advisory Commission. 2021. p. 171.)
In addition to giving Medicare power to negotiate drug prices for the most expensive medicines, the Senate-approved bill caps out-of-pocket drug costs for Medicare beneficiaries, extends the Affordable Care Act insurance subsidies through 2025 and invests in clean energy security and climate change programs while bringing down the deficit.
This landmark deal overcame enormous opposition from the drug industry which spent millions on lobbyists, consultants and scare tactic advertisements in an attempt to kill this common-sense proposal. At the front end, taxpayers pay for much of the research and development of these drugs through government research, and again at the pharmacy counter through Medicare.
AHF proudly sponsored two ballot measures promoting drug price negotiation in California and another in Ohio which the drug industry spent millions opposing. While those ballot measures lost at the polls, they laid the groundwork for a movement that today celebrates this milestone.