Coalition calls series of bills aimed at allowing risky drug importation, meddling in Medicare drug negotiations, and surrendering to foreign price controls “a trifecta of bad ideas”
WASHINGTON, DC (January 10, 2019): The Council for Affordable Health Coverage (CAHC) – a coalition of employers, insurers, life science companies, PBMs, brokers, agents, patient groups, and physician organizations – responded today to a series of bills announced by Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) and Reps. Elijah Cummings (D-MD), Ro Khanna (D-CA), Peter Welch (D-VT), Joe Neguse (D-CO), and others that would establish a false choice between protecting patient access to treatment and lowering prescription drug costs.
“Unfortunately these proposals amount to a trifecta of bad ideas: gambling on risky drug importation, injecting government meddling into Medicare prescription drug negotiations and surrendering to foreign price controls that stifle innovation and threaten patient access to treatment,” said CAHC President Joel White. “Prescription drug affordability is a serious challenge; one that deserves substantive, actionable, and consensus-based solutions that save costs without compromising patient safety or threatening access to lifesaving therapies.”
The package announced today includes:
- The Prescription Drug Price Relief Act, which would transfer foreign price controls on to American consumers by pegging the cost of certain treatments sold in the United States to an index of reimbursement rates from other nations. CAHC raised concerns about a similar proposal from the administration last month and offered a more narrowly tailored, value-based alternative solution.
- The Medicare Drug Price Negotiation Act, which would allow for government intervention in Medicare Part D negotiations, wiping out the steep discounts that private insurers already negotiate with drug firms. The Congressional Budget Office (CBO) has said the effects of such a policy change would be “negligible.”
- The Affordable And Safe Prescription Drug Importation Act, which would allow the U.S. government to import medicines from abroad. A 2005 report from HHS warned that “There is no realistic level of resources that could ensure that personally imported drugs are adequately inspected,” while CBO says such a policy would reduce federal spending on prescription drugs by a paltry one half of one percent. Prescription drug importation was rejected by every witness – representing a cross-section of interests and perspectives – at a bipartisan October 2017 Senate HELP Committee hearing on prescription drug costs.
About the Council for Affordable Health Coverage
The Council for Affordable Health Coverage (CAHC) is a broad-based alliance with a primary focus: bringing down the cost of health care for all Americans. CAHC promotes policies that lower health costs through increased competition, informed consumers and more choices. Learn more at CAHC.net.