The U.S. House of Representatives recently unveiled its Lower Drug Costs Now Act (H.R. 3), a bill intended to reign in drug costs, which have jumped more than 10% alone in 2019, according to a recent study by Rx Savings Solutions, a consultant to health plans and employers.
The latest increases mirrors a decade-long trend in rising costs that have been passed onto patients; Americans spent $535 billion on prescription drug costs in 2018, a 50% increase since 2010, according to an estimate from Pew Charitable Trusts.
The House bill, which has been backed by groups like the AARP and the American Hospital Association, would reduce drug costs by allowing the federal government to negotiate drug prices for up to 250 brand-name drugs in Medicare.
The bill would also allow the Department of Health and Human Services secretary to impose significant fines on drug companies that do not reach an agreement, thus putting pressure on companies to lower their prices.
The negotiated price would then be available to Americans covered by private plans, as well as those on Medicare. H.R. 3 would also cap senior citizens out-of-pocket prescription drug costs at $2,000 a year.
McSally has yet to indicate whether she will support the bill, prompting grassroots advocacy group Honest Arizona to release a statement, calling on her to keep her promise to lower drug costs.
“Arizonans are facing skyrocketing drug prices while drug companies rake in record profits. Senator McSally promised to reduce the price of prescription drugs and that means lifting the ban on Medicare negotiating with pharmaceutical companies,” the statement read. “Yet, time and again, Martha McSally has refused to sign onto any legislation to reduce prescription drug costs. It’s time for McSally to tell Arizonans the truth about where she stands on reducing prescription drug costs.”
McSally’s record on healthcare has already been a sticking point for advocacy groups and Arizona voters, and if she opts not to support H.R. 3, it could exacerbate the issue.