WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senator Cory Booker (D-NJ) today joined U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders (I-VT), U.S. Senator Richard Blumenthal (D-CT), and more than a dozen colleagues in the House and Senate to introduce sweeping reforms that would reduce prescription drug prices in the United States.
The plan to reduce the skyrocketing cost of prescription drugs includes three bills:
The Prescription Drug Price Relief Act, which would peg the price of prescription drugs in the United States to the median price in five major countries: Canada, the United Kingdom, France, Germany and Japan;
The Medicare Drug Price Negotiation Act, which would direct the Secretary of Health and Human Services (HHS) to negotiate lower prices for prescription drugs under Medicare Part D;
The Affordable and Safe Prescription Drug Importation Act, which would allow patients, pharmacists and wholesalers to import safe, affordable medicine from Canada and other major countries. This bill was originally introduced by Senators Booker, Sanders, and Bob Casey (D-PA) in 2017.
“There is no reason that, in a country as rich as ours, Americans should be choosing between paying for prescription drugs and paying for food and other necessities,” Booker said. “And incredibly, despite an enormous tax windfall from the Trump tax cuts, drug manufacturers aren’t lowering prices – they’re issuing stock buybacks to their shareholders and in many cases raising prices. Congress can’t sit on the sidelines while this is going on. That’s why I’m supporting this comprehensive approach to reduce the growing cost of prescription drugs, including a renewed push to pass our bill to safely import prescription drugs from Canada and other countries.”
"The United States 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," Sanders said. "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."
President Donald Trump said repeatedly during his campaign that he would take action against drug companies and bring down prices. But in the first seven months of 2018 alone, there were 96 drug price hikes for every price cut. Four major drug manufacturers combined made more than $50 billion in profits last year. In addition, in 2017 1 in 5 Americans reported they did not fill a prescription because of cost.
Meanwhile, in Canada and other major countries, the same medications, manufactured by the same companies, in the same factories are available for a fraction of the price compared to the United States. In 2017, Americans spent $1,208 per person on prescription drugs while Canadians spent $860 and people in the U.K. spent $476.
The measures introduced today are overwhelmingly supported by the American people. Seventy-two percent of Americans favor allowing the importation of prescription drugs from Canada, and 92 percent of the American people support allowing Medicare to negotiate drug prices.
Today’s legislative package is part of Booker’s ongoing effort to lower consumer drug prices for the millions of New Jerseyans and Americans who struggle to afford their medicine. Last month, Booker introduced a bill to boost transparency of states’ Medicaid drug decisions. And earlier in 2018, Booker published a comprehensive report outlining how drug companies were not using their newfound tax savings from the GOP tax bill to lower prescription drug prices and were instead using the windfall on stock buybacks. He wrote to the CEOs of the ten largest pharmaceutical companies sharing his findings and urging them to do more to lower drug prices. Booker is also a sponsor of legislation that would allow Medicare to negotiate lower prescription drug prices, make it easier to get generic drugs to market, and make other key reforms to bring down high drug costs. At a Judiciary Committee markup last summer, Booker voted to advance the CREATES Act – legislation to bring less expensive generic drugs to the market faster.