“Seniors on Medicare face skyrocketing bills for lifesaving drugs that they can’t afford and some insurance companies have stopped covering their drugs altogether,” Brown said. “This isn’t right, and it must stop. That’s why I helped introduce the Medicare Prescription Drug Savings and Choice Act. Giving Medicare the authority to negotiate with pharmaceutical companies will help seniors get the best prices for these critical prescription drugs. Seniors should be able to get drug coverage directly through Medicare – not be forced to buy from a middle man.”
During a press conference in Cleveland today, Brown was joined by Charmaine Szanyi-Hrusch, a retired teacher from North Ridgeville whose prescription drug prices have recently tripled and Ernest Boyd, a pharmacist who discussed how Brown’s legislation would help keep costs under control.
“Senator Brown is attacking an issue that impacts older Americans’ health very directly,” Boyd said. “Pharmacists are having hundreds of patients tell them that they cannot afford the drug or the copayment. It is critical we get this problem under control.”
Brown outlined legislation he cosponsored that would help rein in costs by allowing Medicare to negotiate the best prescription medication prices, lowering drug prices for seniors enrolled in Medicare prescription drug coverage. The Medicare Prescription Drug Savings and Choice Act would help keep costs down for Americans enrolled in Medicare Part D by requiring the Secretary of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) to negotiate the best prescription medication prices for seniors.
Current law only allows for bargaining by pharmaceutical companies and bans Medicare from doing so. The bill would require the HHS Secretary to directly negotiate with drug companies for price discounts for the Medicare Prescription Drug Program, eliminating the “non-interference” clause that expressly bans Medicare from negotiating for the best possible prices even though the government can often negotiate bigger discounts than private insurance companies.