With drug pricing reform potentially closer than ever, Public Citizen pens new letter calling for change
After penning a letter to Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi and Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer in June calling for drug pricing reform and Medicare improvement, Public Citizen has mounted pressure with a letter thanking two members of Congress and a Senator for the previous work, and calling for more relief to patients and consumers.
The letter addressed to Sen. Ron Wyden (D-OR), Rep. Richard Neal (D-MA), and Rep. Frank Pallone (D-NJ) reads:
Bold drug pricing reform that meets the level of ambition Americans demand would fulfill promises made consistently and repeatedly by President Biden, Majority Leader Schumer, Speaker Pelosi and a vast array of elected Senators and members of Congress. Indeed, the Elijah E. Cummings Lower Drug Costs Now Act was the most significant and impactful legislation advanced out of the House to lower drug prices and expand access to medicines in the United States in a generation, perhaps ever.
Public Citizen claims that drug pricing reform would save $450 billion over 10 years and that adding dental, hearing and vision care to Medicare would cost less than $360 billion over 10 years. A June 16 letter addressed to Pelosi and Schumer called to expand Medicare to Americans ages 50 and older, citing a 10.5% uninsured rate of adults between the ages of 50 and 64, largely thanks to pandemic-driven job loss.
Drug price reform would exist in the form of lowered premiums and out-of-pocket costs, and protect patients against drug price spikes and eliminate the practice of patients rationing treatment, which can lead to death.
“The United States spends far more than any other country on pharmaceuticals, and the largest purchaser in the world is the Medicare Part D program,” the letter says.
The organization’s voice has been loud throughout the past few months. In June, Public Citizen penned a letter calling for the top three FDA officials, including acting commissioner Janet Woodcock, to resign, following the approval of Biogen’s Alzheimer’s treatment Aduhelm. In the letter written to Health and Human Services Secretary Xavier Becerra, the organization’s director Michael Carome said that new leadership was “a prerequisite” for restoring the agency’s credibility.
In January, the organization also called for Woodcock’s removal after her defense of the 1995 approval of OxyContin, and allowing opioid manufacturers to share false claims about the risks and benefits of the drugs, which has led to a crisis across America.