Prescription drugs are some of the most overpriced goods that families are forced to pay for each month. Americans pay more than three times what people in other countries pay for the same medication, while pharmaceutical companies rake in huge profits.
After years of fighting opposition from Big Pharma, and the politicians who always do their lobbyists’ bidding, we made real progress with the Inflation Reduction Act.
The Inflation Reduction Act finally took on the drug companies and lowered drug prices for Americans on Medicare. For years I’ve led efforts to allow Medicare to negotiate directly with drug companies for lower prices. We finally got it done, with a requirement for the Secretary of Health and Human Services to negotiate the price of the highest cost drugs. And it capped insulin costs at $35 per month for Ohioans on Medicare. That’s saving older Ohioans $500 a year.
We need to build on that success, to lower prices for everyone. Recently, I introduced the Lower Drug Costs for Families Act that would hold Big Pharma accountable by punishing drug companies that raise prescription drug prices faster than the rate of inflation and would reduce the national deficit by more than $34 billion over a decade.
So often, these drug companies are not creating new medications or investing in innovation. They are simply buying the rights to existing drugs from other companies, laying off workers, raising prices by eight, nine or ten-fold – and then expecting patients, hospitals, and taxpayers to pick up the tab.
We know that the high cost of drugs is a problem, and we know how to fix it: we penalize companies that price gouge. With this bill, we are taking on the drug company lobbyists again and doing something about it.
Sherrod Brown is the senior U.S. senator from Ohio.