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Shaheen, Hassan Help Introduce Legislation to Boost Medicare Prescription Drug Price Negotiation, Lower Costs for Americans

** Legislation builds on Shaheen supported provisions in the Inflation Reduction Act** 

(Washington, DC) - U.S. Senators Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH) and Maggie Hassan (D-NH) introduced legislation this week with a group of Senators to boost Medicare negotiations of drug prices to lower the cost of prescription drugs for consumers. The Strengthening Medicare and Reducing Taxpayer (SMART) Prices Act would give the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) enhanced authority to negotiate for Medicare Part D.

“Cost should never be a barrier to care for lifesaving medication. That's why I supported provisions in the Inflation Reduction Act to cap insulin costs for Medicare beneficiaries and to allow Medicare to negotiate drug prices that lower costs for our older adults. While these were historic first steps, more must be done to make prescription medications affordable for more Americans,” said Shaheen. “The SMART Prices Act will build on that progress by strengthening provisions included in the Inflation Reduction Act by expanding and enhancing Medicare’s ability to negotiate with pharmaceutical companies to further bring down drug prices for older adults. The American people have paid sky-high prescription drug prices for far too long, and I’m proud to help introduce legislation to reverse that trend.”

“Last year, we took on Big Pharma and moved to help lower prescription drug costs by finally allowing Medicare to negotiate the price of medications. Now we have the opportunity to accelerate this progress through the SMART Prices Act,” said Hassan. “I urge my colleagues to support this commonsense, cost-saving bill. Everyone should be able to afford the medications that they need.”

The legislation builds on a provision in the Inflation Reduction Act that allowed Medicare to negotiate prescription drugs for the first time. The SMART Prices Act would also lower Medicare Part B drug prices through negotiation two years earlier than they would under the current law and would increase the overall number of drugs that HHS can negotiate starting in 2026.

More than 50 million seniors benefit from Medicare’s lowering of prescription drug prices. The legislation is endorsed by the Center for American Progress, Families USA, Lower Drug Prices Now, National Multiple Sclerosis Society, Patients For Affordable Drugs Now, Protect Our Care, and Public Citizen. 

Senator Shaheen is leading efforts in the Senate to lower health care costs and make essential medications more affordable. Senator Shaheen has long led action in the U.S. Senate to lower the surging cost of insulin. Recently, Shaheen introduced her bipartisan bill with Senator Susan Collins (R-ME), the INSULIN Act, to comprehensively address skyrocketing prices, remove barriers to care and make access to insulin available for millions more Americans. Shaheen also led a bipartisan bill earlier this month – the Ensuring Timely Access to Generics Act – to help lower the cost of prescription drugs by increasing competition for generic drugs through better oversight from the Food and Drug Administration. This bill is in addition to previous Shaheen efforts in 2019 and 2020 that would encourage competition in the drug marketplace and close loopholes used to keep cheaper, generic medication off the markets.