The Coalition for Affordable Prescription Drugs (CAPD) appreciates the opportunity to submit the following statement for the record for the House Ways & Means Subcommittee on Health Hearing, “Promoting Competition to Lower Medicare Drug Prices.”
CAPD thanks the Committee for their attention to the critical issue of drug pricing, which affects all Americans. Reducing the high price of prescription drugs is a policy priority which enjoys an overwhelming bipartisan consensus. Americans agree: drug prices are too high. A recent poll shows 80 percent of Americans want to see Congress and the Administration take action now. After all, life-saving prescription drugs cannot help patients if they are not affordable.
As Congress considers ways to combat high drug costs, we should make sure that policy solutions do not have unintended consequences. The recent Safe Harbor rule, as it has been proposed by HHS and HHS OIG, could have very negative consequences for seniors by raising Medicare Part D premiums as much as 25%. These new costs may be a shock to seniors who have seen steady and predictable costs from Medicare Part D for many years. The rule will also threaten the sustainability of the program that millions of seniors rely on, costing the federal government $196 billion over the next decade. The proposed rule does nothing to lower drug costs for the majority of seniors, and therefore we encourage the Administration to consider these unintended consequences before enacting the rule.
The drug supply chain is incredibly complex. While the current debate is rife with finger-pointing and blame games, CAPD aims to shift the conversation to solutions that can meaningfully and sustainably lower drug prices. Real and lasting solutions need to tackle the problem at its root, by addressing the high prices set by drug makers, will ease the cost burden on patients and payers, and address market distortions and gamesmanship that delay competition and keep prices artificially high.
CAPD Executive Director Debra Barrett’s recent blog post, available here, describes some of these common-sense solutions. Together, we can find solutions to ensure that all American patients can have access to the prescription drugs they need to get and stay healthy.