WASHINGTON – Sen. Maggie Hassan, a member of the Senate Finance Committee that has jurisdiction over Medicare, and a member of the Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions Committee, and Sen. Jeanne Shaheen joined colleagues this week in introducing legislation to lower skyrocketing prescription drug prices for Granite Staters and Americans. The senators joined in reintroducing legislation to allow Medicare to negotiate the best possible price for prescription drugs to cut costs for the nearly 43 million seniors enrolled in Medicare Part D. The senators also joined in reintroducing separate legislation to allow patients, pharmacists, and wholesalers to import safe, affordable medicine from Canada and other major countries.
“Skyrocketing prescription drug prices are one of the top challenges I hear about from people across New Hampshire,” Hassan said. “By allowing Medicare to negotiate the price of prescription drugs and allowing for the safe importation of affordable prescription drugs from places like Canada, this legislation would help bring down prices of drugs to benefit both patients and taxpayers. I am hopeful that we can work across party lines to finally take meaningful action to bring prescription drug prices down.”
“The health and wellbeing of all Americans is threatened by the high cost of prescription drugs, and it’s long past time for Washington to act,” Shaheen said. “Lowering prescription drug costs through price negotiation in Medicare is a critical step that must be taken to protect seniors from astronomical drug costs. Medication should be affordable, and allowing Granite Staters to import safe, FDA-approved medications from Canada and other countries will also be key to helping reduce the cost burdens that patients face at the pharmacy counter. The time is now to tackle escalating prescription drug costs to protect New Hampshire families, which is why I’ll fight to move these bills through Congress.”
The Empowering Medicare Seniors to Negotiate Drug Prices Act would allow the Secretary of Health and Human Services 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 better prices. By harnessing the bargaining power of nearly 43 million seniors, Medicare could negotiate bigger discounts than pharmaceutical companies.
The Affordable and Safe Prescription Drug Importation Act would instruct the Secretary of Health and Human Services to issue regulations allowing wholesalers, licensed U.S. pharmacies, and individuals to import qualifying prescription drugs manufactured at FDA-inspected facilities from licensed Canadian sellers.