Report: PRESCRIPTION DRUG PRICES DRIVING UP HEALTH CARE COSTS

December 13, 2016
Press Release
~ Kaptur Urges More Action to Pinpoint Culprits ~

HHS Report to House Appropriators Confirms: Rising Prescription Drugs Prices are driving up Federal Health Spending

Washington, DC --- U.S. Rep. Marcy Kaptur (OH-09), author of an amendment to the FY16 Labor HHS, and Education Appropriations Bill that directed HHS and the Veterans Administration to report to Congress with an analysis of the impact of rising prescription drug prices, today made public the long awaited report.  Kaptur was joined by her Appropriations colleagues, Ranking Member Nita Lowey (NY-17) and Subcommittee on Labor HHS Ranking Member Rosa DeLauro (CT-3) and Member of the Committee on Ways and Means Rep. Lloyd Doggett (TX-35)  in releasing the following statement regarding the report: “Prescription Drugs: Innovation, Spending, and Patient Access.”

“Prescription drug prices are out of control,” said Rep. Kaptur. “We have a responsibility to ensure all Americans are able to afford the medication they need to stay healthy. This report comes at a pivotal moment, as prescription drug spending is expected to increase 7.3 percent a year through 2018. I urge the Secretaries of Health and Human Services and the Veterans Administration, to embark on a full collaboration to address this national concern, pull back the veil that currently prohibits a full accounting of agency drug expenses, and join in the effort to expose skyrocketing drug costs so that we may better negotiate prices for consumers.”

“Rising costs for prescription drugs mean more out-of-pocket costs and more care delayed or deferred, which has an adverse impact on overall health.   The federal government must ensure that neither patients nor federal health programs are being gouged for lifesaving medications,” said Ranking Member Lowey.  

“Every day, we see the threat that spiraling drug prices pose to Medicare, Medicaid, and the other federal health programs,” said Rep. DeLauro.  This report shows that spending on prescription drugs is skyrocketing across all the federal health programs.  Now is the time for Congress to take action to rein in these excessive prices.  That is why I have introduced legislation to create a new interagency review board to regulate excessive drug prices.”

Congressman Lloyd Doggett (D-Texas), who co-chairs the House Democratic Caucus Prescription Drug Task Force, said, “Prescription price gouging not only means too many Americans face crushing financial burdens or go without necessary health care; it means that all American taxpayers are paying too much for government drug purchases. Congress faces more than a question of ‘to be or not to be’ on Obamacare. It has to decide whether to do or not to do anything about unsustainable drug spending. Unfortunately, a major shortcoming of the Affordable Care Act is its failure to make prescription drugs affordable. President-elect Trump has promised action and said that he doesn’t like what’s happened with drug prices—now is the time for him to act.”

"Prescription drug spending in the United States soared to $457 billion in 2015.  Members of Congress have a responsibility to the taxpayers to ensure that funds are wisely spent, and that hardworking Americans are not forced to pay artificially inflated prices for their prescription drugs,” concluded Rep. Kaptur.

The HHS report includes an analysis of prescription drug prices (net of rebates) paid by Federal programs for the 10 most frequently prescribed drugs and the 10 highest-cost drugs, dating back to 2003. It also includes an analysis of the annual spending on prescription drugs in the Medicare Part B program, Medicare Part D prescription drug program, and VA health program. While a step in the right direction, the Members urged more information is needed to fully understand the source of rising prescription drug prices and available remedies to protect consumers.

The report can be found here: PDF iconPrescription drug RTC - December 7 2016.pdf