Grassley: Prescription Drug Prices are Increasing Faster Than Inflation
Prepared Floor Remarks by
U.S. Senator Chuck Grassley of Iowa
Chairman, Senate Finance
Prescription Drug Prices
Increasing Faster Than Inflation
Thursday, March 5, 2020
showed that from 2007 to 2018, prices for hundreds of drugs rose many times
faster than the rate of inflation.
prices on 602 medicines rose by 159%, or 9% annually.
discounts and rebates, net prices increased by 60%, or 4.5% annually.
3.5 times the rate of inflation.
are drugs for multiple sclerosis, cholesterol, rheumatoid arthritis,
chemotherapy, diabetes and many more debilitating and life-threatening
into real terms, that means that if one of these drugs cost $100 a month in
2007, it cost $259 in 2018.
wages for the average American over the same time period increased about 30% in
the private sector.
means wage growth is about half the rate of growth in prescription drug prices
– even after rebates and discounts.
many, increased drug costs are wiping out progress they are making in wages.
families are even going backward financially after paying for their
this doesn’t take into account the many other increases in the cost of living,
from college to housing to insurance.
Americans are surely fortunate to see the significant wage growth that they
have under President Trump.
the president and Republicans in Congress can rightly take credit for the
country’s booming economy.
all that wage growth doesn’t mean as much if it’s spent on the same
prescription drug refills every month.
something that ought to concern every member of Congress.
be clear: these price hikes aren’t because the medicines got better or there
was a significant increase in research and development.
this was because the pharmaceutical companies could do it and get away with it.
in many cases, consumers don’t have choice.
don’t have options or alternatives.
because we don’t have a healthy marketplace that drives down costs.
now, pharmaceutical companies can essentially charge Medicare whatever they
taxpayers don’t have much recourse.
now, every single working American who pays federal taxes is subsidizing Big
Pharma’s record profits.
Member Wyden and I are working to put some common sense back into the system.
the Finance Committee, we’ve passed bipartisan legislation to put an end to
unlimited corporate welfare for Big Pharma.
we’re closer than ever to lowering drug prices for tens of millions of
Big Pharma and its paid allies are out in force trying to kill any reforms that
might endanger their profit margins.
using scare tactics and deploying terms like “socialism” and “price controls.”
been around long enough to recognize these political games.
set the record straight: the last thing Big Pharma wants is a free market.
all, these were the same folks who loved Obamacare because it mandated another
revenue stream for their products.
Pharma is also warning that any reform would hurt research and development.
fact, my bipartisan legislation with Sen. Wyden would result in less socialism,
a more competitive marketplace and wouldn’t put a damper on innovation.
that’s according to the independent Congressional Budget Office.
those who may not believe a politician, let me point to the work the
professionals at CBO have done on my bill.
updated Grassley-Wyden bill will save more than $80 billion and result in no
reduce patient out-of-pocket spending in Part D by around $50 billion.
reduce premiums by about $1 billion for the tens of millions of seniors and
Americans with disabilities on Medicare.
And that’s all on top of a cap on out-of-pocket expenses and an end to the
dreaded donut hole.
also created a new way to spread out payments for those out-of-pocket expenses
so that paying the bills every month becomes a bit easier for those on a fixed
reforms, big pharmaceutical companies will continue to receive tens of billions
of dollars in excess taxpayer subsidies.
they will have no incentive to keep prices from rising many times faster than
prescription drug manufacturers can charge Medicare more and more every year.
taxpayers are forced to foot the bill.
enacts accountability and ends corporate welfare without harming medical
plan on reintroducing our bipartisan bill very soon.
far, a dozen Senate Republicans have announced publicly that they support this
will announce their support in the coming days.
dozen more Republican senators have indicated to me that they would vote for it
on the Senate floor.
optimistic that we’ll continue to gain support as senators learn more.
Trump, Vice President Pence and Secretary Azar have all endorsed our bill.
deserves a vote on the Senate floor soon.
urge my colleagues on both sides of the aisle to speak with me about this bill
and how it will help all of our constituents.
all pledged to lower prescription drug prices.
follow through on that pledge.