While welcoming the White House’s willingness to tackle pharmaceutical companies’ patent abuse and high prescription drug prices, progressive critics argued Thursday that U.S. President Joe Biden must do more to challenge Big Pharma’s monopoly power.
The White House on Thursday announced “new actions to promote competition in healthcare and support lowering prescription drug costs for American families, including the release of a proposed framework for agencies on the exercise of march-in rights on taxpayer-funded drugs and other inventions.”
“People have been making trade-offs to pay for healthcare for years. Inflation has only made things worse as people are also now struggling with the high price of gas, food, and electricity,” said the president of West Health, which conducted the new poll with Gallup.
As inflation hit a 40-year high this year, nearly 100 million Americans skipped care or cut back on necessities to cover the rising cost of medical treatment in a nation infamous for its for-profit system, according to polling results released this week.
Inflation rose to 9.1% in June—and healthcare inflation was at 4.5%—when Gallup and West Health asked people across the country how they had handled higher healthcare costs over the past six months. Continue reading →
Last week, Joe Manchin, the West Virginia senator whose decisive vote in the evenly split upper house has led some to brand him ‘President Manchin’, and Senate Majority leader Chuck Schumer surprised even the most clued-in political junkies by announcing support for a climate bill that had been declared dead just several weeks before.
The group American Commitment is running ads in several states attacking Democrats’ plan to lower prescription drug prices. (Photo: Screengrab/American Commitment)
While its thousands of lobbyists work fervently on Capitol Hill, the pharmaceutical industry is flooding the airwaves in several states with deceptive ads in a last-ditch campaign to block Senate Democrats’ plan to curb the unchecked pricing power of drug corporations.
Included as part of a reconciliation package negotiated by Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) and Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.), the proposal would require Medicare to negotiate the prices of a small number of drugs directly with pharmaceutical companies, which can currently drive up costs as they please—boosting their profits at the expense of patients. Continue reading →
“By empowering Medicare to directly negotiate prices for prescription drugs Congress can end the days of seniors missing lifesaving medications because they cannot afford them,” said Majority Leader Chuck Schumer.
The Congressional Budget Office said Friday that a pending proposal by Senate Democrats to allow Medicare to negotiate directly with drug companies for lower prices would yield nearly $290 billion in savings and new revenue over ten years of implementation, a predictable yet crucial finding as lawmakers try to revitalize a legislative deal in the coming weeks.
The Democratic effort to revitalize a broader reconciliation package that could be passed in the narrowly-split Senate without Republican votes is considered the best that can be achieved after Sens. Joe Manchin and Kyrsten Sinema tanked the much larger Build Back Better plan—one that included sweeping climate provisions and other social investments—last year. Continue reading →
U.S. Health and Human Services Secretary Xavier Becerra announced on January 10, 2022 that he was ordering a review of a planned 15% hike in the Medicare Part B premium. Photo: Gage Skidmore/flickr/CC
As the head of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services announced Monday that he was ordering a review of a planned 15% hike in the Medicare Part B premium for 2022, healthcare reform advocates stressed the need for Congress to pass a Build Back Better bill with a provision allowing the federal government to negotiate the price of prescription drugs.
HHS Secretary Xavier Becerra said that he was instructing the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) “to reassess the recommendation for the 2022 Medicare Part B premium”—a hike that progressive critics said was largely the result of the pharmaceutical industry’s outrageous profiteering. Continue reading →
While progressive advocates are still optimistic that a limited drug pricing provision will be included in the Build Back Better Act, the Washington Post on Friday detailed the “massive, months-long advertising, lobbying, and political donation blitz” that Big Pharma and its allies carried out to kill a stronger and overwhelmingly popular proposal that would have done more to protect Americans from the industry’s deadly price gouging.
As Common Dreams has reported, pharmaceutical corporations and private health insurers spent $171 million on lobbying through the first nine months of the year, the most of any industry. Big Pharma’s 1,600 lobbyists outnumber members of Congress by a ratio of three to one. Continue reading →
“It’s time we reevaluate the standards for approving these mergers. It’s time we pass legislation to lower drug prices. And it’s time we rethink the structure of leadership at big pharmaceutical companies.”
A new report from Rep. Katie Porter (D-Calif.) reveals how Big Pharma uses mergers and acquisitions to increase profits at the expense of Americans’ healthcare.. Screenshot: CNN
Rep. Katie Porter on Friday published a damning report revealing the devastating effects of Big Pharma mergers and acquisitions on U.S. healthcare, and recommending steps Congress should take to enact “comprehensive, urgent reform” of an integral part of a broken healthcare system.
Seema Verma, administrator of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services. Photo: White House/flickr
Less than a month away from the November election, Trump administration officials are reportedly rushing to implement the president’s recent proposal to send $200 prescription drug discount cards to nearly 40 million Medicare recipients—an $8 billion plan that would be financed by dipping into the Medicare trust fund.
Politicoreported Thursday that the administration is “seeking to finalize the plan as soon as Friday and send letters to 39 million Medicare beneficiaries next week, informing seniors of Trump’s new effort to lower their drug costs, although many seniors would not receive the actual cards until after the election.” While the design of the cards has yet to be finalized, officials are reportedly discussing ways to put Trump’s name on them. Continue reading →
During the debate Trump claimed that insulin is now “so cheap it’s like water,” but A 10ml vial of insulin from Novo Nordisk or Eli Lilly, for example, costs Americans $290, ranking it alongside the likes of Chanel No. 5 and scorpion venom as among the most expensive liquids in the world.
One of Trump’s more questionable claims he made at the now infamous first presidential debate was that he was driving down medical costs for ordinary Americans. Under his presidency, the 74-year-old New Yorker claimed, diabetes medicine insulin had gone from so expensive that it was “destroying families” to “so cheap it’s like water.” “This is big stuff,” he added.
Trump had indeed signed an executive order on insulin in July. But the scope of the new legislation was extremely limited, targeting only a small group of health care providers and benefitting only two percent of the relevant outlets for insulin. In reality, insulin prices have tripled in the last decade, rising to new exorbitant highs not seen anywhere else in the world. A 10ml vial of insulin from Novo Nordisk or Eli Lilly, for example, costs Americans $290, ranking them alongside the likes of Chanel No. 5 and scorpion venom as among the most expensive liquids in the world. Continue reading →