WASHINGTON DC (KTVE/KARD) – This week, Congressman Bruce Westerman (AR-04), a ranking member of the House Natural Resources Committee, and Congressman Jan Schakowsky (IL-09), Whip in Deputy Chief and Chairman of the Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Consumer Protection and Commerce has reintroduced the Price Relief, Innovation and Competition for Essential Medicines (PRICED) Act to make more affordable and accessible prescription drugs for Americans across the country.
The bicameral PRICED Act, the first version of which was introduced in the Senate in 2016 by Senators Sherrod Brown (D-OH) and the late John McCain (R-AZ), deals with increasing drug prices by reducing waiting periods. exclusivity of drug manufacturers for biological products. from twelve years to five years. “Low-cost, widely available drugs and treatments are essential to the continued well-being of millions of Americans,” Congressman Westerman said. The PRICED Act is key to making prescription drugs more affordable by breaking the manufacturers’ monopoly on certain drugs and allowing other companies to create generic versions at a lower cost to the patient. I am grateful to join Rep. Schakowsky’s work on this issue – we are proof that healthcare solutions can and should be bipartisan.
“Drug pricing is not a partisan issue and attacking the monopoly of Big Pharma should not be either. I am proud to be joined by Congresswoman Westerman in reintroducing the PRICED Act, which will make prescription drugs more affordable and accessible for Americans across the country,” said Congresswoman Schakowsky. “During the health care debate in 2010, we fought to reduce the number of years that makers of newer, more expensive biologic drugs can retain patent exclusivity, which prevents competitors from putting in the market for cheaper drugs. Unfortunately, he still granted twelve years of exclusivity which allowed biologics manufacturers to enjoy billions of dollars in profits and no competition. This is unacceptable to American taxpayers who fund the majority of the research that develops these drugs and who need these drugs to survive.I will fight to finally pass the PRICED Act in the 117th Congress.
In 2017, all of Medicare Part B’s 10 most expensive drugs were biologics, accounting for more than $10 billion in costs. That same year, the Office of Management and Budget estimated that reducing exclusivity from 12 to 7 years could save nearly $7 billion over 10 years.
Many recent peer-reviewed studies suggest that biologics don’t take as long to develop as initially thought. In 2019, authors from the Program On Regulation, Therapeutics, And Law (PORTAL), Division of Pharmacoepidemiology and Pharmacoeconomics, Department of Medicine, Brigham and Women’s Hospital and Harvard Medical School published a study in Nature that concluded “although biologics are often considered to take longer to develop than small molecule drugs, the development times for biologics are similar to, if not slightly shorter than, those for small molecule drugs. Additional reports show that there is no difference in median development time to market between biologics and small molecule drugs that would justify the 12 years of data exclusivity that biologics currently retain.
The representatives were joined by Representatives Ro Khanna (CA-17), Lloyd Doggett (TX-25), Rosa DeLauro (CT-03), Mark Pocan (WI-02), Marcy Kaptur (OH-09) and Jesús G “Chuy” Garcia (IL-04).