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Rep. Schrader Votes to Lower Drug Prices for Oregonians

Rep. Schrader Votes to Lower Drug Prices for Oregonians


WASHINGTON, D.C. –Congressman Kurt Schrader (D-OR) voted today in the House of Representatives for HR 3, the Lower Drug Costs Now Act. This legislation will allow Medicare to negotiate lower drug prices for seniors.  HR 3 will also establish a cap on the out-of-pocket drug costs seniors must pay each year, for the first time ever, directly keeping money in their pockets. It will also enhance transparency of the pharmaceutical prescription drug chain to expose areas for greater savings going forward. Much of the savings from negotiation have been allocated for additional benefits in Medicare.

“The Lower Drug Costs Now Act will finally empower Medicare to negotiate lower prices for prescription drugs,” said Rep. Schrader. “It is high time that our struggling seniors are given the right to negotiate drug costs like is done by commercial plans, the VA, DOD and Medicaid. Price negotiation is a free market principle that our country embraces in almost every other aspect of life. I am proud to be a strong supporter of this legislation. However, I am disappointed that the savings from this plan have not been used to improve the solvency of Medicare itself which faces dire straits in just 6 years.  With Medicare per capita spending expected to grow at over a 5% annual rate we should be using the savings to ensure the future solvency of the current Medicare program rather than adding more untenable mandates.  Hopefully, comparable bipartisan efforts in the Senate will get us there.  This is a critical first step for our seniors and Medicare’s future.”

Rep. Schrader’s bipartisan BIOSIM Act was included in the Lower Drug Costs Now Act. This bill will offer greater incentives for the creation of biosimilar drugs which are lower cost generic versions of biologic drugs. Biologics are often used by those with rare diseases and can be extremely expensive. The Bolstering Innovative Options to Save Immediately on Medicines Act will temporarily increase the reimbursement for biosimilar drugs from the average sales price (ASP) of the drug plus six percent to the average sales price of the drug plus eight percent for five years to help increase their utilization by doctors. Currently, Medicare patients pay a twenty percent coinsurance on Part B drugs which both biologics and biosimilars are. This legislation will reduce patient cost and cost to the government, by increasing the use of lower cost biosimilars.

Rep. Schrader voted to advance the Lower Drug Costs Now Act in the Energy & Commerce health subcommittee and in the committee as a whole, where he spoke in support of the bill. He also spoke on the floor of the House in support of this legislation.

In the Fifth District of Oregon alone there are 130,603 people enrolled in a Medicare Part D plans, all of whom will benefit from the passage of the Lower Drug Costs Now Act.