Mobile Menu - OpenMobile Menu - Closed

House Passes Bipartisan Budget Agreement With Cummings’ Prescription Drug Bill

Oct 28, 2015
Press Release

House Passes Bipartisan Budget Agreement With Cummings’ Prescription Drug Bill

 

Washington, D.C. (Oct. 28, 2015)—Today, Rep. Elijah E. Cummings, Ranking Member of the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, issued the following statement after the House of Representatives passed the Bipartisan Budget Agreement, which incorporates legislation Cummings introduced in May to curb the skyrocketing prices of prescription drugs:

“My legislation will help Americans get the life-saving prescriptions they need, and it will save $1 billion over ten years, according to the Congressional Budget Office.  This legislation is a strong and welcome step to help keep drugs affordable, but we must do more.  We need to investigate drug companies that are taking advantage of the American people by jacking up their prices just to boost corporate profits and make their executives rich.”

Cummings’ bill, H.R. 2391, the Medicaid Generic Drug Price Fairness Act, requires generic drug manufacturers to provide rebates to Medicaid when they raise prices faster than the rate of inflation.  According to the Congressional Budget Office, Cummings’ bill will save $1 billion over the next ten years.

Since receiving a heartfelt letter in 2011 from Brenda Frese, the women’s head basketball coach at the University of Maryland, whose son was diagnosed with leukemia, Cummings has been investigating access and affordability problems faced by American families in need of prescription drugs used to treat everything from common medical conditions to life-threatening illnesses.

Below are Cummings’s remarks, as prepared for delivery, and the video of his speech.

 

 

 

Statement for the Record Bipartisan Budget Agreement

Ranking Member Elijah E. Cummings

October 28, 2015

           

            Thank you, Mr./Madam Chairman.  I rise in support of the Bipartisan Budget Agreement.

            I am very encouraged that this agreement includes provisions from my bill, H.R. 2391, the Medicaid Generic Drug Price Fairness Act, which I introduced on May 18.

            My legislation requires generic drug manufacturers to provide rebates to Medicaid when they raise prices faster than the rate of inflation.  My legislation will help Americans get the life-saving prescriptions they need, and it will save $1 billion over ten years, according to the Congressional Budget Office.

            Just this morning, the nonpartisan Kaiser Family Foundation issued a report finding that this issue—the skyrocketing prices of prescription drugs—is the number one healthcare priority for the American people.  The report found that 77% of those surveyed, including Democrats, Republicans, and independents, identified this issue as their top health concern over all others.

            This legislation is a strong and welcome step to help keep drugs affordable, but we must do more.  We need to investigate drug companies that are taking advantage of the American people by jacking up their prices just to boost corporate profits and make their executives rich. 

            Over the past month, press reports have been filled with almost daily accounts of drug company executives trying to justify their obscene price increases while lining their pockets.

            My colleagues may have heard about the so-called “Pharma Bro”—Martin Shrkeli—who increased the price of a drug that treats life-threatening infections from about $14 to $750 overnight.  He then called his price gouging “a great thing for society.

            My colleagues also may have heard about Michael Pearson, the CEO of Valeant Pharmaceuticals, which increased the prices of two drugs used to treat heart failure and hypertension by 212% and 525% on the same day it acquired them.  This company is currently obstructing congressional oversight and refusing to provide documents relating to its price increases.  At the same time, company officials have defended their actions by claiming that “our duty is to our shareholders.

            We need to finally start holding hearings and taking action to make sure we are putting people before profits.

114th Congress