Today the House Energy and Commerce Committee narrowly voted down policy to allow Medicare to negotiate drug prices directly with pharmaceutical manufacturers. In response, New Jersey Citizen Action releases the following statement:
Maura Collinsgru, New Jersey Citizen Action Health Care Program Director:
“Today’s vote in the House Energy and Commerce Committee that rejected Medicare drug price negotiations is a loss for the American people and a victory for the substantial profits of large pharmaceutical corporations. Nevertheless, we applaud and stand with New Jersey’s own Congressmen Frank Pallone and Bill Pascrell who have been stalwart in the fight for this policy and the health of millions of New Jerseyans. Pharmaceutical interests have been hard at work inundating the airwaves and newspapers with false and misleading scaremongering to intimidate our Members of Congress to vote against their own constituents.
Here are the facts. 1 in 5 adult US residents hold off on filling a prescription, cut pills in half, or skip a dose due to affordability. In NJ, 90% of residents support allowing Medicare drug price negotiations. Meanwhile, the average annual cost of prescription drug treatment in NJ rose by nearly 58 percent between 2012 and 2017, and just in January of this year pharmaceutical companies set a record for the most brand name prescription drug price increases of any January in the last decade. A recent report by House Democrats shows that high drug prices financed stock buybacks, not research and development. Americans are suffering while pharmaceutical companies only increase their profits. Allowing Medicare to negotiate drug prices is an efficient and effective policy that would save taxpayers hundreds of billions. Americans would no longer be forced to pay 2-6x as much as other countries for basic prescription drugs.
Our Members of Congress work for the people, not Big Pharma. These large corporations are doing everything in their power to hold onto the exorbitant wealth they have and are accumulating at the expense of Americans’ wellbeing. We urge the full NJ delegation to stand with Congressmen Pallone and Pascrell to lower prescription drug prices now, especially Senator Menendez as the Senate Finance Committee moves next to take up the Build Back Better Act.”
New Jersey Citizen Action is a statewide advocacy and empowerment organization that advances social, racial and economic justice for all, while also meeting the pressing needs of low- and moderate-income New Jerseyans through education and direct services.