Read about the biggest pharmaceutical developments and pricing stories from the past week in KHN's Prescription Drug Watch roundup.
Drug prices are once again in focus on Capitol Hill as lawmakers renew their push for pricing reform. And U.S. Health and Human Services Department Sec. Xavier Becerra has joined in on the effort. "We just have to all agree that this isn't working. Countries around the world are providing medicine to their people for far less than we do," Becerra told Yahoo Finance in an exclusive interview Monday, adding that often those same drugs are made in the U.S. Becerra made an appearance alongside U.S. Rep. Frank Pallone (D-NJ-06) and U.S. Sen. Cory Booker (D-NJ) in New Jersey Monday at a multi-city event to discuss lower drug costs. (Khemlani, 8/17)
If there was any doubt about the sincerity President Joe Biden wanted to convey with his appeal to Congress on drug pricing reform, he removed it by bringing his departed mom into the discussion. Speaking in the East Room of the White House on Thursday, Biden recalled that Catherine Biden’s “prescription drugs were so expensive” that it took money from himself, his two brothers and a sister to cover the cost so she wouldn’t have to “exhaust the little savings she had.” With that, Biden set the scene for what promises to be a contentious several weeks in Washington as Congress weighs potential measures to combat high drug costs. (Dunleavy, 8/16)
On Monday, AARP launched a three-week television, and radio advertising campaign urging U.S. Senators to support allowing Medicare to use its power to negotiate drug prices with drug manufacturers. The seven-figure investment highlights negotiation as a critical step toward lowering prescription drug costs for all Americans, especially seniors who on average take between four and five medications each month and have a median income of just over $26,000 a year, AARP said. (Nylander, 8/16)
Governor JB Pritzker Monday signed a package of legislation that aims to address financial obstacles in accessing health care, while increasing transparency when purchasing prescription medications. HB 119 formalizes the legal process for donating unused prescription drugs to certified pharmacies or health departments. By establishing a prescription drug repository program, prescription and over-the-counter medication that remain unexpired and unopened can be returned to pharmacies and reused for eligible populations. (8/17)Health Action