Chuck Grassley

United States Senator from Iowa

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Grassley, Klobuchar Urge Administration to Help Bring Down the Skyrocketing Costs of Prescription Drugs

Nov 08, 2018

WASHINGTON – U.S. Sens. Chuck Grassley of Iowa and Amy Klobuchar of Minnesota sent a letter to the President urging him to support legislation to limit anticompetitive “pay-for-delay” pharmaceutical settlements as part of the Administration’s effort to bring down the skyrocketing price of prescription drugs. Americans, on average, pay the highest prescription drug prices in the world, and competition in the sale of prescription drugs is essential to ensuring that drug prices remain fair. In the letter, also sent to Secretary of Health and Human Services Alex Azar, Commissioner of Food and Drugs Scott Gottlieb, M.D., and Administrator of the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services Seema Verma, the senators encouraged the Administration to support their bipartisan Preserve Access to Affordable Generics Act which would help limit anticompetitive “pay for delay” settlement agreements that can delay the availability of affordable generic drugs for years.

“We have long been concerned with the rising cost of prescription drugs and the strain it places on patients and our healthcare system, including critical government programs like Medicare and Medicaid. Noncompetitive drug markets can result in higher prices and reduced patient access to essential medical treatments,” the senators wrote.

“By promoting the timely introduction of affordable generic drugs, our Preserve Access to Affordable Generics Act would increase prescription drug competition in U.S. markets, driving down prices and improving the quality of life for patients across the country. We urge you to support this effort to reduce drug costs and increase patient access to affordable medications.”

The full text of the letter can be found here and below:

Dear President Trump:

We write to encourage you to support legislation to limit anticompetitive “pay-for-delay” pharmaceutical settlements as part of your Administration’s effort to ease to the burden of prescription drug prices on patients and the American healthcare system.

Americans, on average, pay the highest prescription drug prices in the world. And recent projections indicate that U.S. prescription drug spending will only continue to rise. Many Americans are unable to pay their medical bills or are forced to skip doses of their prescribed medication.

We have long been concerned with the rising cost of prescription drugs and the strain it places on patients and our healthcare system, including critical government programs like Medicare and Medicaid. Competition in the sale of prescription drugs is essential to ensuring that drug prices remain fair. Noncompetitive drug markets can result in higher prices and reduced patient access to essential medical treatments. 

Your recent remarks on this issue suggest that you view the excessive costs of prescription drugs as a bipartisan issue. We agree. That is why we have introduced bipartisan legislation to help prevent anticompetitive conduct in prescription drug markets and foster the introduction of affordable generic drugs. Our bill, the Preserve Access to Affordable Generics Act (S. 124), would help limit anticompetitive “pay for delay” settlement agreements, which can delay the availability of affordable generic drugs for years. It has been estimated that these anticompetitive settlements cost consumers and taxpayers billions of dollars in higher drug costs every year.

By promoting the timely introduction of affordable generic drugs, our legislation would increase prescription drug competition in U.S. markets, driving down prices and improving the quality of life for patients across the country. We urge you to support this effort to reduce drug costs and increase patient access to affordable medications.

Thank you for your prompt attention to this important matter.

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