June 26,2018

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Taylor Harvey (202) 224-4515 

Wyden Releases Report on High Drug Prices in Medicare

Report Offers Comprehensive Look at Why and How Industry Profits at the Expense of Seniors and Taxpayers

Washington, D.C. – Senate Finance Committee Ranking Member Ron Wyden, D-Ore., today released a report outlining the causes and consequences of high drug prices in Medicare. The report shows how the broken drug system delivers massive profits to drug manufacturers, middlemen and insurance companies while sending costs skyrocketing for families and taxpayers. The report comes as the Trump Administration continues to fall short on the president’s promise to deliver lower drug prices.

“Americans are paying more than ever for their drugs while feeling trapped in this impossibly opaque system where prices only ever seem to go up,” Wyden said. “I’m shining a light to reveal how the drug pricing system is set up to deliver massive profits to the biggest industries while seniors and taxpayers get stuck with the bill. This report reveals a stark contrast between what needs to be done and the minimal steps taken by Trump and his administration, who are failing to deliver on one of his top campaign-trail promises. Americans need action to lower the cost of prescription drugs at the pharmacy counter, and this report shows why it’s time for Congress and the administration to get serious.” 

Wyden’s report explores the long list of entities and financial relationships that push drug prices – and consumer costs – higher and higher every year. By examining the complex system of negotiations, contractual arrangements, and financial transactions that determine the price a consumer pays for drugs, the report provides a stark contrast to Trump’s complete lack of meaningful action on drug prices nearly halfway through his term.

The report is another step in Wyden’s agenda to improve the drug pricing system so prices can come down for American families struggling to balance their budgets. In late 2015, Wyden released a bipartisan report detailing how one company decided to price its $84,000 breakthrough drug to put profits over patient access and the consequences that had, and continues to have, on the American health care system.

Since then, Wyden has introduced legislation aimed at a number of links in the drug supply chain. He’s offered the SPIKE Act, which forces drug manufacturers to provide justification when they drastically increase drug prices. The C-THRU Act would reveal the amount of drug rebates middlemen known as pharmacy benefit managers (PBMs) pocket for themselves versus how much they pass along in savings to consumers. To limit out-of-pocket costs to patients, Wyden introduced the RxCAP Act which caps how much seniors in Medicare have to pay for their Medicare Part D drugs, who currently don’t have such protection today.

The full report can be found here.