Chuck Grassley

United States Senator from Iowa

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Grassley on Big Pharma’s Secrets

Nov 06, 2019
Prepared Floor Remarks by U.S. Senator Chuck Grassley of Iowa
Chairman, Senate Finance Committee
Wednesday, November 6, 2019
I’m here to share a secret with the American people.
 
It’s about prescription drug pricing. 
 
As chairman of the Senate Finance Committee, it’s no secret that one of my biggest priorities is to rein in the soaring costs of prescription medicine.
 
It’s no secret that Americans are having a hard time paying for their medicine.
 
It’s no secret that Big Pharma doesn’t want us to change the status quo.
 
In fact, Big Pharma is spending Big Money to stop Congress and the Trump administration from legislating a cure.
 
That’s the secret.
 
They want to keep drug pricing a secret from the American people.
 
What does that mean?
 
It means that Big Pharma wants to keep secrecy baked in when it benefits Big Pharma.
 
Right now, the murky drug pricing supply chain is a mystery to consumers.
 
There seems to be no rhyme or reason what consumers will owe at the pharmacy counter when they pick up their prescriptions.
 
American taxpayers, America’s seniors and this U.S. senator are fed up with it.
 
That’s why I’m working to inject some Midwestern common sense into prescription drug pricing.
 
I’m working with my good friend Senator Durbin.
 
We’ve teamed up before on issues that naysayers said couldn’t get done.
 
You will recall that President Trump signed our First Step Act into law last year.
 
The landmark reforms are protecting public safety, saving tax dollars and bringing fairness to the criminal justice system.
 
Today, we’re teaming up once again to fix an injustice with prescription drug advertising.
 
Big Pharma spends billions of dollars a year advertising to U.S. consumers.
 
The FDA regulates what these direct-to-consumer ads must tell consumers.
 
For example, advertisers must include potential side effects, such as nausea, diarrhea, depression, weight gain and even, death.
 
You know what seems to scare Big Pharma to death?
 
Price transparency.
 
They do not want to tell consumers how much a drug costs when they saturate the airwaves with advertising that shows happy families enjoying the grandkids, celebrating birthdays and going on vacations.
 
Senator Durbin and I believe Americans have a right to know.
 
Consumers should know what the advertised drug costs.
 
The Trump administration agrees.
 
But, Big Pharma sued to stop the HHS regulations from taking effect.
 
It’s up to Congress to change the law.
 
And the bill Senator Durbin and I are introducing this week will do just that. 
 
Almost exactly one year ago, I said here on the floor of the U.S. Senate that it’s time to talk turkey with our friends in Big Pharma.
 
And yet, here we are.
 
One year later.
 
And Big Pharma has ridden the taxpayer gravy train for another 12 months.
 
As Americans get ready to count their blessings around the Thanksgiving table, I hope they can count on all 100 members of the U.S. Senate to approve the Grassley-Durbin bill.
 
There’s no good reason to oppose it.
 
Unless you’d rather keep secrets for Big Pharma.
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