US lawmakers to introduce new bills to slash prescription drug prices

11 January 2019 (Last Updated January 11th, 2019 12:13)

US Senator Bernie Sanders and Representative Elijah Cummings have announced plans to introduce three new bills to reduce the price of prescription drugs in the country.

US lawmakers to introduce new bills to slash prescription drug prices
Initial price hikes on 250 prescription drugs by 2 January inflated to 490 medicines by 10 January. Credit: Lisa Yarost.

US Senator Bernie Sanders and Representative Elijah Cummings have announced plans to introduce three new bills to reduce the price of prescription drugs in the country.

The legislation is supported by Representative Ro Khanna and many others in the House and Senate.

One of the new bills would fix the price of prescription drugs in the country to the median of drug prices in Canada, the UK, France, Germany and Japan. If the bill is passed, the prices are expected to drop by nearly 50% in the US.

The second bill would allow the Secretary of Health and Human Services (HHS) to negotiate lower prices for the drugs under Medicare Part D.

If Medicare could negotiate the prices to be similar to those in Canada, the US government will potentially save approximately $360bn over ten years.

“The US pays by far the highest prices in the world for prescription drugs. This has created a health care crisis in which 1 in 5 American adults cannot afford to get the medicine they need.”

The third bill would allow patients, pharmacists and wholesalers to import medicines from major countries, including Canada.

Sanders said: “The US pays by far the highest prices in the world for prescription drugs. This has created a health care crisis in which 1 in 5 American adults cannot afford to get the medicine they need.

“That is why I am introducing legislation to drastically bring down the cost of prescription drugs. If the pharmaceutical industry will not end its greed, which is literally killing Americans, then we will end it for them.”

Despite the Trump Administration’s firm stance on cheaper drugs, price hikes seem to continue. Last year, 96 drug price increases were observed for every price cut, noted Sanders.

As many as 30 pharmaceutical companies began 2019 by hiking drug prices in the US.

A report by Rx Savings revealed that the initial rises on 250 prescription drugs by 2 January inflated to 490 medicines by 10 January.