House bill would allow the government to negotiate for lower drug prices and save consumers money.
Update: On December 12, the House voted to pass H.R. 3.
Californians in the state’s 39th congressional district could save thousands on common medications for cancer, diabetes, and arthritis if a prescription drug bill making its way through the House becomes law, according to a report from Democratic Rep. Gil Cisneros, who represents the district.
The legislation, known as H.R. 3 or the Lower Drug Costs Now Act, aims to reduce prescription drug costs by allowing the federal government to negotiate on drug prices, a practice that is currently prohibited. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi announced the bill would get a vote in the House next week. It is likely to pass there, but its progress in the Senate is unclear.
Americans spend a lot on prescription drugs, so much so that consumers are often forced to ration their medications or go without. In recent years the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention found that roughly 11.4% of individuals didn’t take their medication as prescribed in order to lower their costs.
Cisneros’ report shows H.R. 3 could lower drug prices for many different medications. For example, researchers estimate H.R. 3 could lower the cost of one popular insulin medication by 76%, from $19,800 to $4,800 per year.
Other expensive medications, like those designed to treat breast cancer, could see a price dip as well. According to the report, the cost of one commonly used medication, Ibrance, could drop 65% to $23,900 per year.
“Healthcare is an issue that’s personal for my family. My father suffered health problems from exposure to Agent Orange in Vietnam and when he lost his insurance, he had to drive down to Mexico to buy his diabetes medication,” Cisneros said.
“No family should ever have to choose between paying for life-saving treatment and paying the bills. This report shows how Californians and 39th District residents will benefit from the Lower Drug Costs Now Act and why it’s more urgent than ever that Congress takes action to lower the costs of prescription drugs.”