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Schakowsky and colleagues formally comment on President Trump's drug pricing plan

Today, Congresswoman Jan Schakowsky, Chair of the Congressional Progressive Caucus (CPC) Health Task Force, led CPC Co-Chairs Mark Pocan (WI) and Raúl Grijalva (AZ), Affordable Prescription Drug Task Force Co-Chairs Lloyd Doggett (TX) and Peter Welch (VT), as well as Reps. Ro Khanna (CA), Steve Cohen (TN), Chellie Pingree (ME), Rosa DeLauro (CT), Jamie Raskin (MD), and Jerrold Nadler (NY) in submitting comments regarding Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Alex Azar’s request for information (RFI) on the “Blueprint to Lower Drug Prices and Reduce Out-of-Pocket Costs.”

In their comments, the members outlined how nothing in the President’s blueprint addresses the root cause of high drug prices- the pharmaceutical corporations raising them. The members outlined five components that the blueprint lacks, which would work together to substantively lower drug prices, noting that several had previously been endorsed by President Trump himself:

  1. Negotiate prescription drug prices under Medicare to harness the purchasing power of the federal government;
  2. Shed light on the pharmaceutical corporation’s drug pricing system through genuine transparency to reveal the true cost of drug production;
  3. End patent system abuse by eliminating tactics that thwart competition like pay-for-delay deals, patent evergreening, and Risk Evaluation and Mitigation Strategies (REMS) abuse;
  4. Allow safe importation of prescription drugs from other countries; and
  5. Ensure access to affordable drugs by crafting fair trade agreements.

After sending the comments to Secretary Azar, Rep. Jan Schakowsky released the following statement:

            “Prescription drug companies will continue to raise the prices of prescription drugs for one simple reason: because they can. While I am glad that President Trump and Secretary Azar have decided to address the drug price crisis affecting millions of Americans every day, I believe their blueprint for action falls far short of what is required to lower prices. We need bold, decisive actions that get to the root causes of the skyrocketing costs of prescription drugs, and the HHS Blueprint simply doesn’t deliver.

            “In our comments today, my colleagues and I outlined five actions that the Administration could take if they were serious about lowering the cost of prescription drugs in our country. With millions of American families having to choose between paying the rent on time or buying the medications they need, I sincerely hope that Mr. Trump and Mr. Azar will take our suggestions seriously.”

A PDF of the comments submitted today can be found here.

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