Leahy Leads Bipartisan Intro Of Bill To Tackle Rising Rx Drug Prices

Leahy Leads Bipartisan Introduction Of Legislation
To Address Rising Prescription Drug Prices

WASHINGTON (TUESDAY, June 14, 2016) – Top leaders on the Senate Judiciary Committee led by Ranking Member Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) introduced new legislation Tuesday to combat anticompetitive practices by brand-name drug companies that delay entry of lower-priced generic drugs. The issue will also be the subject of a Senate committee hearing next week.

The Creating and Restoring Equal Access to Equivalent Samples (CREATES) Act would deter pharmaceutical companies from blocking cheaper generic alternatives from entering the marketplace. The bill is cosponsored by Chairman Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa), and Senators Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.) and Mike Lee (R-Utah), leaders of the Subcommittee on Antitrust, Competition Policy and Consumer Rights.

Leahy said: “I hear from Vermonters across the state that the high cost of prescription drugs is preventing access to necessary medical care, and I share their concern that many pharmaceutical products are simply too expensive for consumers. Pharmaceutical companies should be compensated for their important work developing life-saving treatments, but predatory practices at the expense of consumers are unacceptable. Drug affordability is a bipartisan issue that affects each and every one of us. I am committed to working on behalf of Vermonters to see that the CREATES Act and other vital initiatives to address the high cost of prescription drugs are signed into law.”

Vermont recently 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’s bill, a version of which was introduced in the House by Congressman Peter Welch (D-Vt.) last year, is strongly supported by the Vermont Area Agencies on Aging, Community of Vermont Elders (COVE), AARP Vermont, the Vermont Center for Independent Living, the Office of the Health Care Advocate and the St. Albans-based generic drug manufacturer Mylan. The bill is also supported by consumer groups including Consumers Union, Public Citizen and Families USA; the American College of Physicians; the AFL-CIO; and the National Coalition on Health Care.

AARP Vermont State Director Greg Marchildon said: “The CREATES Act would address anticompetitive Risk Evaluation and Mitigation Strategies (REMS) that are increasingly being used by brand-name drug companies to block and delay entry of affordable generic drugs that seniors depend on. We appreciate Senator Leahy’s leadership in introducing this bipartisan legislation to help make lower cost prescription drugs more available to Vermont’s seniors.”

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

Senator Leahy’s full remarks Tuesday on the legislation are also available online.

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