A Southwest Florida Republican congressman is backing a proposal to have pharmaceutical companies have more transparency when they want to raise drug prices.
This week, U.S. Rep. Francis Rooney, R-Fla., joined U.S. Sens. Tammy Baldwin, D-Wisc., and Mike Braun, R-Ind., and U.S. Rep. Jan Schakowsky, D-Ill., in bringing out the “FAIR Drug Pricing Act” which, they insist, will be “the first step in addressing skyrocketing prescription drug prices by requiring transparency for pharmaceutical corporations that plan to increase drug prices.”
The bill would make drug companies reveal more information on their cost increases, including research and development expenses.
“Specifically, the FAIR Drug Pricing Act would require drug manufacturers to notify the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) and submit a transparency and justification report 30 days before they increase the price of certain drugs that cost at least $100 by more than 10 percent in one year or 25 percent over three years. The report will require manufacturers to provide a justification for each price increase, manufacturing, research and development costs for the qualifying drug, net profits attributable to the qualifying drug, marketing and advertising spending on the qualifying drug, and other information as deemed appropriate. The bill will not prohibit manufacturers from increasing prices, but it will, for the first time, give taxpayers notice of price increases and bring basic transparency to the market for prescription drugs,” Rooney’s office noted.
Rooney weighed in on why he was backing the proposal on Thursday.
“The rising cost of prescription drugs is spiraling out of control,” Rooney said. “Millions of Americans cannot afford their medication, putting their lives and health at risk, and costing taxpayers billions in Medicare costs. Prices must be lowered, and access to vital drugs must increase for American consumers. My goal is to lower prescription drug prices by increasing transparency, and that is why I am introducing the FAIR Drug Pricing Act- to make big pharmaceutical companies justify the price hikes on the medicines that Americans need.”
“For too long, I’ve heard story after story from Wisconsinites who are struggling to afford the life-saving medications they need,” said Baldwin. “Drug corporations are making prescription drugs more and more expensive with no systematic transparency to taxpayers. My bipartisan reform will change that and demand answers from drug companies who are jacking up the prices on the medications that Americans need. It is time for Congress to take action and take on the rising costs of medicine people depend on.”
“It’s time for pharmaceutical companies to clean up their act, otherwise they will be stuck with one customer: the federal government,” said Braun. “This legislation will help push them into the right direction by requiring transparency and justification before drug companies can increase the cost of certain drugs by more than 10 percent over one year or 25 percent over three years.”
“Drug pricing reform is a bipartisan priority that we must address now,” said Schakowsky. “The American people are demanding to know why life-saving prescription drugs that are developed with their taxpayer dollars cost them so much. I am proud that Senators Tammy Baldwin and Mike Braun have now joined me and Representative Rooney in introducing this long overdue legislation to expose the profiteering of drug corporations. The bill will for the first time give taxpayers notice of price increases and bring basic transparency to the market for prescription drugs. There are no loopholes or carveouts in this bill, and I hope that my colleagues will join me in fighting for the passage of this bill so that Big Pharma will finally have to answer to answer to the American people.”
The bill has reeled in the support of a number of groups including the AARP, the Campaign for Sustainable Rx Pricing, the National Multiple Sclerosis Society, Patients For Affordable Drugs, American College of Physicians (ACP), the American Academy of Neurology, the Blue Cross Blue Shield Association, the Medicare Rights Center, Families USA and several others.