The Coalition for Affordable Prescription Drugs (CAPD) appreciates the opportunity to submit the following statement for the record for the Senate Aging Committee Hearing, “The Complex Web of Prescription Drug Prices” Parts I and II.
Millions of seniors rely on their prescription drugs to stay healthy and active, but for too long, rising prescription drug prices have hurt seniors and patients across America. Just last week, new data from the Kaiser Family Foundation showed that one-quarter of Americans find it difficult to pay for their prescription drugs. Three in ten Americans say that they did not take a medication as prescribed because of cost. Patients should not have to choose between taking the medicines they need and putting food on the table.
As Congress considers ways to combat high drug costs, it is imperative that any policies put in place do not have unintended consequences. The recent Safe Harbor rule, as it has been proposed by HHS and HHS OIG, could have 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 on which millions of seniors rely, 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.
CAPD also believes there are specific and important steps that we can take to meaningfully lower drug prices for all American patients. As Congressional committees continue to debate the issue of drug pricing this week, we hope they will consider policy solutions that could help 1) ease the cost burden on patients at the pharmacy counter, 2) ensure we are paying for value, and 3) address gamesmanship that delays competition and keeps drug prices artificially high. Please see here for CAPD Executive Director Debra Barrett’s recent blog post describing some of these solutions.