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Pocan, Kaptur introduce bill to protect consumers from rising prescription drug prices

Jun 23, 2017
Press Release

Washington, D.C. – Today, Congressman Mark Pocan (WI-02) and Congresswoman Marcy Kaptur (OH-09) introduced legislation that would hold drug manufacturers accountable for spiking the price of prescription drugs; the Stop Price Gouging Act, H.R. 2974, uniquely protects consumers and penalizes drug corporations that spike drug prices deliberately without justification. Earlier this month Senator Sherrod Brown (D-OH) and Senator Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY) introduced a Senate version of the bill.

“In the last year, 28 million Americans saw a price spike for the drugs they take and 4 million of them had to stop taking their prescription because drug manufacturer raised the price so high they could no longer afford the medicine,” said Congressman Pocan. “This legislation is crucially needed to protect Americans from drug manufacturers making an excessive profit off of Americans need for life-saving medications. The Stop Price Gouging Act holds drug manufacturers responsible and is the first bill that truly protects American consumers from the increasing cost of prescription drugs.”

“We need to stand up to drug companies that are more worried about bolstering profits for their Wall Street investors, than making sure people can afford life-saving medication,” said Congresswoman Kaptur. “Thank you, Congressman Pocan for leading with me in the House to shine some sunlight on drug companies’ shady price gouging. The predatory pricing practicing of giant, largely faceless, corporations must get the sunlight they deserve. The well-being of millions of America depends on it.”

About the bill:

The Stop Price Gouging Act holds pharmaceutical companies accountable and protects consumers from egregious year-after-year price spikes and large, unjustified single price spikes companies use when they reach the end of their patent life or are looking for a quick increase in revenue. In recent years, America has witnessed a rapid increase in prescription drug costs. Between 2010 and 2014, thirty common pharmaceuticals experienced an average price increase of approximately 76 percent. These massive price increases have had an inordinate impact on the elderly and most seniors cannot absorb the price shock of rapidly rising drug prices. This situation has left Medicare and in turn taxpayers on the hook.

Specifically, the bill does the following:

  • Requires pharmaceutical corporations to report any increases in the price of their products, as well as justification for any increases that exceed medical inflation, to the public.
  • Imposes a penalty on corporations that engage in excessive, unjustified price increases that is proportional to the size of the price spike.
  • Instructs the Government Accountability Office to conduct a study examining how drug manufacturers establish initial launch prices and suggest best practices for monitoring new drug pricing; and
  • Reinvests revenues collected from companies will be invested in future drug research and development at the National Institutes of Health (NIH).

House bill is endorsed by Public Citizen, Social Security Works, Center for Medicare Advocacy, Daily Kos, Families USA, Knowledge Ecology International, and Universities Allied for Essential Medicines