June 22,2021

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Taylor Harvey (202) 224-4515

Wyden Releases Principles For Lowering Drug Prices for Americans

Outline from Finance Chair Marks Step Towards Comprehensive Legislation

Washington, D.C. – Senate Finance Committee Chairman Ron Wyden, D-Ore., today released a document outlining his priorities for lowering prescription drug prices as Congress continues its legislative work to provide relief from high drug prices to American consumers and taxpayers.

“Congress has critical work in the weeks ahead to craft legislation that will finally deliver relief to Americans who are paying too much for their prescription drugs,” Wyden said. “Today’s release reflects the core principles that will guide my work this summer: let Medicare negotiate, limit price gouging, provide relief to consumers at the pharmacy counter, ensure those with individual and employer insurance also benefit, and reward scientific research for those who are truly innovating. I look forward to working with members of the Senate and the House to deliver true drug pricing reform to President Biden’s desk this year, as he called for in his joint address to Congress.” 

The principles in the outline are as follows:

  1. Medicare must have the authority to negotiate with pharmaceutical companies, especially when competition and market practices are not keeping prices in check.
  2. American consumers must pay less at the pharmacy counter.
  3. Prices of drugs that increase faster than inflation will not be subsidized by patients and taxpayers.
  4. Drug pricing reforms that keep prices and patient costs in check should extend beyond Medicare to all Americans, including those covered by employer and commercial health plans.
  5. Drug pricing reforms should reward scientific innovation, not patent games.

The outline from Wyden comes as the Medicare Payment Advisory Commission (MedPAC) reports a 25 percent increase in Medicare Part D spending between 2013 and 2018. The report found that nearly all the growth was attributable to higher prices rather than an increase in the number of prescriptions.

The full principles document can be found here.