U.S. Rep. Dan Lipinski introduced legislation last week to lower the cost of life-sustaining prescription drugs for seniors and others on Medicare.
The bill, H.R. 5039, would allow the Secretary of Health and Human Services to leverage the federal government’s purchasing power along with pricing data from other developed nations to ensure patients receive better pricing and are not being “price-gouged” on their medications, according to a news release.
“As someone who’s been an insulin-dependent diabetic for 30 years, I’m intimately familiar with how much the price of this life-sustaining drug has skyrocketed in recent years,” Lipinski said in the release. “What these drug companies are allowed to get away with is unconscionable.”
The bill would lift a legal ban on Medicare negotiating with drug companies for lower prescription drug prices. The federal government would then set up a process for the HHS secretary to review the cost of these drugs for excessive pricing.
When a drug price is determined to be excessive, HHS will negotiate with manufacturers, prescription drug plan sponsors and Medicare Advantage organizations to collaborate to lower the cost for patients.
Examples of such drugs include those used for chemotherapy, epinephrine injections, anti-seizure medicine, emergency inhalers and more.
“Passing this bill could save patients’ lives and save hundreds of millions of dollars,” Lipinski said.