March 21, 2017
WASHINGTON, D.C. – Drug corporations hurt patients by gaming our system to keep cheaper generics from coming to market, and Congress must act to help patients. That’s one message the co-founder of Patients For Affordable Drugs, David Mitchell, delivered in testimony before a House Oversight and Government Reform subcommittee hearing on drug prices.
Mitchell shared his story about how the out-of-pocket cost for Revlimid, a drug he took for five years while battling incurable blood cancer, increased by 600 percent during his treatment. Meanwhile, the maker of Revlimid—Celgene Corporation—refused to provide samples to a generic competitor in order to maintain a monopoly.
“Drug corporations are ripping off patients, ripping off taxpayers, and blocking market competition,” Mitchell said in his testimony. “Patients are forgoing their medications—they are spending their retirement funds and emptying their kids’ college savings to afford drugs when a generic competitor sits around the corner. It’s outrageous and it must end.”
The hearing, chaired by Representative Jim Jordan (R-OH), examined the impact of restricted distribution systems – one arcane tool drug corporations use to block generic competition. They pretend that they are protecting the safety of patients when in fact they are protecting their profits.
Mitchell’s testimony encouraged Congress to consider five solutions to the problem of high-cost drugs:
- Allowing Medicare to negotiate lower costs for patients.
- Speeding generics to market to enable greater competition.
- Requiring drug corporations to disclose how they set prices if a drug is invented using taxpayer funding.
- Disclosing secret deals made by pharmacy benefit managers who run prescription drug insurance programs.
- Setting prices based on the value drugs deliver to patients.
Patients For Affordable Drugs is a national patient organization focused exclusively on policies to lower prescription drug prices. We amplify the voices of Americans struggling under crushing drug prices to make policymakers and elected officials see the heavy toll of high priced drugs. Patients For Affordable Drugs does not accept contributions from any organizations that profit from the development or distribution of prescription drugs.