A prominent seniors group is backing U.S. Sen. Rick Scott’s, R-Fla., effort to lower prescription drug prices for medicines created with taxpayer dollars.
At the end of last month, Scott introduced the “We Protect American Investment in Drugs (PAID) Act” with the support of U.S. Sen. Chris Van Hollen, D-Mary. The proposal would stop drug companies from “using federally-funded research, like NIH or CDC grants, from charging American consumers unreasonable prices for life-saving drugs” by creating an independent Drug Affordability and Access Committee to determine reasonable prices for drugs developed with federal funds based on reports from the National Academy of Medicine.
During his first seven months on Capitol Hill, Scott has been focused on healthcare issues, including pushing drug companies and hospital for more transparency.
Scott weighed in on the bill at the end of last month.
“There is no reason drug companies, especially those using taxpayer dollars to fund their research, should be charging Americans unreasonable prices for life-saving drugs,” Scott said. Families in Florida and across our nation are struggling to afford the prescription drugs they need to survive. The We PAID Act is one thing we can do to reduce the costs of drugs. If you used taxpayer-funded research to develop your drugs, you can’t charge unreasonable prices to American patients. It’s as simple as that. I urge all my colleagues to join Senator Van Hollen and I in support of this bipartisan and common sense legislation.”
“Maryland is proud to be home to NIH, and their talented scientists are on the front lines of life-saving research. I’ve consistently fought to increase our federal investment in NIH, but we must also make sure that taxpayers are getting a fair return on their investment – instead of being gouged by drug companies. The premise of this bill is simple: If the research behind your drug has been funded by taxpayers, then you have to set a reasonable price and limit price hikes. Private companies using publicly funded science should not be raking in huge profits while consumers and taxpayers are struggling to pay the skyrocketing prices of the very drugs they helped fund in the first place,” Van Hollen said.
The bill got a boost on Thursday when the AARP, with almost 38 million members, threw its support behind the bill. David Certner from the AARP praised the proposal as “one step to help reduce drug prices” which could benefit millions of seniors.
“This legislation would help to ensure that prescription drugs developed in part or in full with federal funding are reasonably priced,” Certner insisted. “Each year, federal taxpayers contribute billions towards the development of new drugs. In fact, every single one of the 210 drugs approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) from 2010-2016 was based on some element of science funded by taxpayers through the National Institutes of Health (NIH). However, those same drugs are often priced so high that they are unaffordable to the millions of older Americans who need them There is no reason why Americans should be unable to afford the prescription drugs that their tax dollars helped to develop.”
For their part, the senators were glad to have the AARP’s support and released a joint statement.
“The We PAID Act is a common-sense way to reduce the cost of prescription drug prices, and we thank the AARP for their support,” the senators said. “Families across our nation, including seniors, are struggling to afford the prescription drugs they need to survive. There is no reason drug companies that use taxpayer dollars to develop prescription drugs should be raking in profits by charging unreasonable prices to American patients. This bill prevents that, and we urge all of our colleagues to join us in support of this common-sense, bipartisan legislation.”