- Polling Issues
Prescription drug prices

With prices climbing rapidly each year, prescription drugs now cost more in America than in every other developed nation. Since medication is often a large portion of an elderly person's budget, these Americans feel the pinch of high drug prices the most. One recent study found that on average, U.S. drug prices were nearly 4 times higher than the combined average of 11 other developed nations. Advocates claim this is due to the lack of competition between drug companies, saying we could save $49 billion annually on Medicare Part D alone if our drug prices were the same as other countries. Since 2007 and with little justification, drug prices have more than doubled for dozens of established drugs used to treat multiple sclerosis, cancer, blood pressure and more. At least fifteen new cancer medications introduced in the past ten years cost patients more than $10,000 a month. From 2007 to 2018, drug prices increased about 160%, or 3.5 times faster than the rate of inflation.

Another reason for our exorbitant drug prices is because Congress prohibited Medicare from negotiating lower prices with drug companies when it passed Medicare Part D prescription drug coverage in 2003. Critics claim the drug lobby worked hard to ensure Medicare wouldn’t benefit from the economies of scale resulting from the millions of new customers delivered to drug companies by Part D. Pharmaceutical companies warn that lowering their prices would deter the research and production of new drugs. However, studies have shown that half of all scientifically innovative drugs approved from 1998 to 2007 resulted from research at universities and biotech firms, not big pharma. Moreover, other studies have shown these companies spend one-third of all sales revenue on marketing their products - roughly twice what they spend on research and development.

Pending Legislation: S.909 - Prescription Drug Price Relief Act of 2021
Sponsor: Sen. Bernard Sanders (VT)
Status: Senate Subcommittee on Primary Health and Retirement Security (Health, Education, Labor and Pensions)
Chair: Sen. Bernard Sanders (VT)

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Poll Opening Date
September 19, 2022
Poll Closing Date
September 25, 2022

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