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House Members Urge Administration to Take Action To Lower Drug Prices in USMCA Trade Talks

WASHINGTON, DC – Today, Representatives Jan Schakowsky, Susan Davis, Rosa DeLauro, Lloyd Doggett, Raja Krishnamoorthi, and Angie Craig led over 100 of their colleagues in sending a letter to U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer and asking him to remove biologics exclusivity language from the pending language in the U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA) trade agreement. That language would lock the United States into at least 10 years of marketing exclusivity for biologic drugs and hinder Congress from taking action to increase competition and enhance patient access to more affordable prescription drugs.

Congresswoman Schakowsky and DeLauro are members of the USMCA House Democrats Working Group, and hand delivered the letter to Ambassador Lighthizer earlier today.

“Today, along with more than 100 of our colleagues, we delivered this letter to Ambassador Lighthizer. We wrote and began circulating the letter before the Speaker named us to the NAFTA Working Group. We are committed to our efforts there, and appreciate the Ambassador’s time and efforts up to this point,” said Congresswomen Schakowsky and DeLauro. “However, unless and until President Trump instructs Ambassador Lighthizer to remove the biologics exclusivity language from the text of the United States-Mexico-Canada trade agreement, as well as other parts of the text that would hinder Congress’ ability to lower prescription drug prices for American families, his talk about wanting to lower drug prices is just that: talk.”

"Including language in a trade agreement that, intentionally or not, restricts Congress’s ability to pass legislation to address high prescription drug prices, is not the sort of improvement to NAFTA on which the president campaigned. In fact, it’s quite the opposite," said Congresswoman Davis. "We need trade agreements that both preserves our access to North American markets and does everything it can to improve the real wages of workers in the United States."

“Having done nothing yet to lower drug prices, President Trump’s trade agenda would protect pharmaceutical monopolies and limit the ability of Congress to restrain price gouging,” said Congressman Doggett, Chairman of the Health Subcommittee on the Ways and Means Committee. “To protect American consumers, the special interest provision that Big Pharma got added to this agreement must be removed.”

“As we work to reduce the price of prescription drugs, it’s imperative that we don’t restrict our ability to increase competition through shortening exclusivity periods,” said Congressman Raja Krishnamoorthi, Chairman of the Economic and Consumer Policy Subcommittee on the Oversight Committee. “Effective trade agreements should fundamentally be about creating fairer markets and this provision would do the opposite to the detriment of the American people.”

“From family farms to union halls, my constituents tell me they want Congress to lower the cost of their healthcare, not give handouts to big drug companies,” said Rep. Craig. “I urge Ambassador Lighthizer to work in the best interests of Minnesotans by protecting Congress’ ability to lower prescription drug costs.”

A copy of the final, signed letter is available HERE.

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    repName Jan Schakowsky  
    helpWithFedAgencyAddress Chicago Office
    5533 N. Broadway
    Chicago, IL 60640
     
    district 9th District of Illinois  
    academyUSCitizenDate July 1, 2017  
    academyAgeDate July 1, 2017  
    academyApplicationDueDate October 20, 2017  
    repStateABBR IL  
    repDistrict 9  
    repState Illinois  
    repDistrictText 9th  
    repPhoto    
    SponsoredBills Sponsored Bills  
    CoSponsoredBills Co-Sponsored Bills