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Rep. Courtney Helps Pass Landmark Drug Pricing Bill, H.R. 3 the Lower Drug Costs Now Act

December 12, 2019
Press Release

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, Rep. Joe Courtney (CT-02), a senior member of the House Education and Labor Committee, voted in favor of the Lower Drug Costs Now Act (H.R. 3). Americans are paying disproportionately high prices for prescription medications compared to other countries, and the Lower Drug Costs Now Act would give Americans a better, fairer deal on prescription drug costs by finally allowing for Medicare to negotiate with pharmaceutical companies for lower, market-rate prices.

“The American people pay far more for prescription drugs than any other country in the world by wide, unacceptable margins,” said Rep. Courtney. “We’re paying twenty five percent more per capita for prescription drugs than Switzerland, the country with the next-highest drug costs. A vial of insulin in the U.S. is $300 – the same vial in Canada is $32. An EpiPen two-pack in the U.S. has a list price of $608 – in the U.K., $69. One quarter of Americans say that it’s difficult for them to afford their prescription, and one third of Americans say that they haven’t taken their medicine as-prescribed due to trouble affording it. People are skipping dosages and cutting pills in half just to try and square their wallets with their doctors’ orders – Americans are being used as piggybanks by certain pharmaceutical manufacturers, and it’s time for it to end.

“2018 saw the largest voter turnout to any American election in over 100 years as the new majority was elected to the House of Representatives by over ten million votes. Health care, and more specifically the rising cost of prescription drugs, was the driving issue behind that historic turnout. That’s precisely what we’re addressing with H.R. 3. The Lower Drug Costs Now Act will finally allow for Medicare to negotiate for lower, fairer drug prices, and those prices won’t be exclusive to seniors on Medicare – they’ll be available to the roughly 50% of Americans who receive health care through their employer, too. This is what America voted for last fall, and after working with my colleagues on the House Education and Labor Committee to craft this bill and see it through my committee, I’m proud to vote for its final passage in the House today.”

On October 17, Rep. Courtney and his colleagues on the House Education and Labor Committee voted to approve the Lower Drug Costs Now Act during a legislative markup session. Click here to watch Rep. Courtney’s opening remarks during that day’s markup.

On November 6, Courtney convened a panel discussion and community conversation at the Groton Senior Center to address the skyrocketing cost of prescription medication, and to highlight the Lower Drug Costs Now Act and the work being done in Congress to give Americans a better deal on prescription drugs. Courtney was joined on the panel by regional health care experts Nora Duncan (Director, AARP Connecticut), Laura Hoch (Manager of Advocacy, National Multiple Sclerosis Society), and Judy Stein (Executive Director, Center for Medicare Advocacy). Together, the group outlined the growing problem of prescription drug price hiking, and expressed mutual support for H.R. 3. Click here to read their statements.

The Lower Drug Costs Now Act finally levels the playing field for American patients and taxpayers: 

  • Gives Medicare the power to negotiate directly with the drug companies, and creates powerful new tools to force drug companies to the table to agree to real price reductions, while ensuring seniors never lose access to the prescriptions they need. 
  • Makes the lower drug prices negotiated by Medicare available to Americans with private insurance, not just Medicare beneficiaries.
  • Stops drug companies ripping off Americans while charging other countries less for the same drugs, limiting the maximum price for any negotiated drug to be in line with the average price in countries like ours, where drug companies charge less for the same drugs – and admit they still make a profit.
  • Creates a new, $2,000 out-of-pocket limit on prescription drug costs for Medicare beneficiaries, and reverses years of unfair price hikes above inflation across thousands of drugs in Medicare. 
  • Reinvests the hundreds of billions of dollars in savings in the most transformational improvement to Medicare since its creation – delivering vision, dental and hearing benefits – and turbocharging the search for new cures.

You can click here to learn more about the Lower Drug Costs Now Act on Congressman Courtney’s website.