The drug pricing president: Biden warns of veto for any IRA repeal attempts
President Joe Biden made clear in his “finish the job” State of the Union address last night that one of those jobs to be finished is insulin prices.
Biden’s push again to tackle insulin prices, after Republicans rebuffed the idea last summer and just after Biden won Medicare drug price negotiations/caps via the Inflation Reduction Act, shows how heavily he’s leaning into this work.
“You know, we pay more for prescription drugs than any major country on Earth,” he said last night, pledging action.
We capped the cost of insulin at $35 a month for seniors on Medicare. But there are millions of other Americans who are not on Medicare, including 200,000 young people with Type I diabetes who need insulin to save their lives. Let’s finish the job this time. Let’s cap the cost of insulin at $35 a month for every American who needs it.
The call to cap out-of-pocket costs for insulin at $35 per month is not new, and even some of the biggest insulin makers like Eli Lilly and Sanofi are backing the measure.
In June, Sanofi also cut the monthly price of its insulins for uninsured Americans to $35, down from $99 previously.
Biden also played up the IRA’s other new cap — on out-of-pocket drug costs for seniors on Medicare, which is now set at a maximum of $2,000 per year. He also touched on how if drug prices now rise faster than inflation, “drug companies will have to pay Medicare back the difference. And we’re finally giving Medicare the power to negotiate drug prices. Bringing down prescription drug costs doesn’t just save seniors money.”
Details on both the rebates and negotiations still need to be ironed out at CMS in the coming months, but Biden noted that some members (it passed on a strictly partisan vote) are threatening to repeal the IRA, to which Biden promised a swift veto.
“Make no mistake, if you try to do anything to raise the cost of prescription drugs, I will veto it,” he said.
Overall, the speech continued his public push against pharma.
From mid-August through early November, Biden was not exactly shy about how happy he was to have defeated Big Pharma with the passage of the IRA and the subsequent Medicare drug price negotiations that will kick off in 2026.
Biden’s rallying cry around beating Big Pharma has been the highlight of stump speeches.
“We beat Pharma this year,” Biden said at a Labor Day celebration in Milwaukee on Sept. 5. “We beat Pharma this year, and it mattered. We’re going to change people’s lives. (Applause.) We finally beat Pharma.”