July 11,2019

Grassley on Rx Relief for American Taxpayers & Consumers

Prepared Floor Remarks by U.S. Sen. Chuck Grassley of Iowa
On Rx Relief for American Taxpayers and Consumers
Wednesday, July 10, 2019
I come to the floor today to update the American people about efforts to reduce the cost of prescription medicine.
Last week, Americans celebrated Independence Day, marking 243 years of self-government.
As elected representatives, it’s our job to make the government work for the people, not the other way around.
For more than two centuries, our system of free enterprise has unleashed American innovation, investment and ingenuity. Robust competition incubates advances in science and medicine. It leads to lifesaving cures and promising treatments for cancer, Alzheimer’s, diabetes and other debilitating diseases.
However, prescription medicine too often smacks consumers with sticker shock at the pharmacy counter. The soaring prices leave taxpayers with a big tab. And they weigh heavily on the minds of moms and dads across the country.
Last week, I held meetings with my constituents in a dozen counties across Iowa.
The cost of prescription drugs comes up at nearly every single Q&A I hold. Iowans want to know why prices keep climbing higher and higher. They want to know why the price of insulin keeps going up and up and up – nearly 100 years after the lifesaving discovery was made. They want to know what can be done to make prescription medicine more affordable.
As chairman of the Senate Finance Committee, I have been working with ranking member Wyden on a comprehensive plan to do just that. We’ve held a series of hearings to examine the drug pricing supply chain.  
We’re working on a path forward.
We’re taking care to follow the Hippocratic Oath: First, do no harm. In other words, let’s be sure we don’t fix what’s not broken.
Americans don’t want to give up high-quality, life-saving medicine.
That’s why I support market-driven reforms to boost competition and transparency. Congress needs to get rid of perverse incentives and fix problems that undermine competition in the drug pricing system, including withholding samples, pay for delay, product-hopping and rebate bundling.
There’s too much secrecy in the pricing supply chain. Consumers can’t make heads or tails about why they are charged what they pay for their medicine.
President Trump has made reducing drug prices a top priority of this administration. On Monday, a federal court knocked down a rule that would require drug companies to disclose the price of their drugs in television ads. This is disappointing. I’ll continue working with Senator Durbin to get the job done. Big Pharma is already required to disclose side effects in their ads, consumers ought to know what the advertised drug will cost.

Today, I call upon my colleagues to climb aboard. Let’s pass the bipartisan healthcare bills thoughtfully crafted in various committees. Let’s get them across the finish line. Working together, we can drive down the price of prescription drugs without derailing quality and innovation that saves lives and improves the quality of life for the American people.