Skip to Content
Home | news | Press Releases

Press Releases

Dingell, House Democrats Plan to Lower Drug Costs for Americans

Washington, September 19, 2019

WASHINGTON, DC – Today, Congresswoman Debbie Dingell (D-MI) and House Democrats unveiled transformational legislation to lower prescription drug costs for every American.  

“Every day – multiple times a day – people stop to tell me about escalating prescription costs and terrifying out-of-pocket expenses. Americans are forced to cut pills in half, choose between paying for medication and rent, or avoid taking needed medicines entirely due to cost,” said Dingell. “We owe it to the American people to do everything possible to lower the cost of healthcare. We all must commit to working together to deliver for hard-working men and women, seniors, and families.”

The Lower Drug Costs Now Act is House Democrats’ proposal to level the playing field for American patients and taxpayers. This bill:

  • Ends the ban on Medicare negotiating directly with the drug companies, and creates new tools to bring drug companies to the table to agree to real price reductions, while ensuring seniors never lose access to the prescriptions they need.
  • Makes the lower drug prices negotiated by Medicare available to all Americans, including those with private insurance, not just Medicare beneficiaries.
  • Requires drug companies to stop charging Americans high prices while charging other countries less for the same drugs, limiting the maximum price for any negotiated drug to be in line with the average price in countries like ours, where drug companies charge less for the same drugs – and admit they still make a profit.
  • Creates a new, $2,000 out-of-pocket cap on prescription drug costs for Medicare beneficaries.
  • Reinvests in innovation and the search for new cures and treatments, using some of the savings from lowering the unjustified drug prices to reinvest billions of dollars in the search for new breakthrough treatments and cures at NIH.

Next week, the Energy and Commerce Committee will hold a legislative hearing on the Lower Drug Costs Now Act. More information on the Lower Drug Costs Now Act is available here.

Thursday, the Energy and Commerce Committee held a hearing exposing pharmaceutical companies exploiting the current structure the regulatory and patent system to block competition and keep drug prices high through practices like product hopping. Product hopping, or evergreening, is the reformulation of a drug by a brand-name manufacturer to delay competition and protection their profits. This often includes minor changes, like reformulating a capsule to a tablet, small changes in the dosing or strength of a branded drug, or other changes that have little effect or therapeutic value.

“I’ve met too many people that are paying ridiculous prices for prescriptions, and watched the cost of drugs exponentially increase,” Dingell said. “For example, insulin, EpiPens, and asthma inhalers. I keep thinking of the mother, with two jobs, whose child has asthma. And their inhaler costs $700. Inaction on this issue is not an option. High health care and prescription drug costs affect all of us, regardless of background or party. This is an issue where bipartisan action is necessary and needed.”

Video of Dingell at the hearing is available here.

Dingell is a passionate advocate for improving healthcare and lowering costs for hard-working Americans. In May, Dingell and House Democrats passed legislation to lower prescription drug prices and to reinforce protections for people living with pre-existing conditions. She led the introduction of Medicare for All which is bold legislation to guarantee healthcare coverage and establish a single payer system. Dingell has consistently fought back against efforts to repeal the Affordable Care Act.

###

Back to top