06.21.16

At SJC Hearing On Rising Prescription Drug Prices, Leahy Calls For Congressional Action

At SJC Hearing On Rising Prescription Drug Prices, Leahy Calls For Congressional Action

. . . New Leahy Bill Would Deter Big Drug Firms From Blocking Or Slowing Generic Alternatives

WASHINGTON (TUESDAY, June 21, 2016) – The rising costs of pharmaceutical drugs, including critical treatments for opioid overdoses, is a harm to consumers that Congress must address, Senator Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) said at a Judiciary Committee hearing Tuesday.

“Pharmaceutical companies should be compensated for their important work developing life-saving treatments. But when companies engage in predatory practices at the expense of consumers, we must act,” Leahy said.

The issue of inflated drug prices has dominated the news in recent months. Last year, Turing hiked the prices for its HIV treatments by 500 percent. In recent months, Vermont became the first state to adopt drug pricing disclosure legislation that requires drug companies to justify the price increase of the top 15 drugs whose prices increased the most in the previous year.

Leahy this month introduced bipartisan, bicameral legislation to deter pharmaceutical companies from blocking cheaper generic alternatives from entering the marketplace. The Creating and Restoring Equal Access to Equivalent Samples (CREATES) Act, which is strongly supported by consumer groups and others, similarly would target predatory practices by name-brand companies that shuts out more affordable alternatives for consumers.

“I share the concerns of Vermonters and Americans across the country that many prescription drugs are simply too expensive for consumers,” Leahy said. “When brand companies can drive up the price of drugs by using predatory practices, patients suffer. Illnesses get worse. Families, government programs, and other payers in the healthcare system ultimately bear those added, unnecessary costs.”

An outline of the CREATES Act can be found here, and text of legislation can be found here.

Senator Leahy’s full remarks at Tuesday’s hearing are also available online.

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