Shaheen Statement on President Trump’s Prescription Drug Pricing Proposal

May 11, 2018

(Washington, DC) – U.S. Senator Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH) issued the following statement in response to President Trump’s prescription drug pricing proposal, and specifically, his failure to include changes that would allow Medicare to negotiate lower prescription drug prices:

“Due to soaring costs, many Americans are unable to afford prescriptions that are critical to their health and well-being. Though I’m glad to hear the President address prescription drug costs, I’m very disappointed that his proposal fails to include Medicare price negotiation. This is an enormous missed opportunity to make medications for millions of Americans more affordable,” said Shaheen. “Allowing Medicare to negotiate lower prices with manufacturers would help make medication for chronic conditions like diabetes and high blood pressure more affordable for patients for whom access to prescription medications can be a matter of life and death. Allowing direct drug price negotiation by Medicare could help improve the affordability and accessibility of naloxone, an opioid overdose reversal drug that is essential to saving lives in New Hampshire. I hope the President will reconsider this decision and follow through on his promise to include Medicare negotiation in his plan.”

Providing more direct tools to address drug pricing could also help alleviate the growing pressure that Medicare Part D prescription drug costs are placing on the federal budget. According to the Medicare Payment Advisory Commission, Medicare Part D spending on specialty drugs, where competition is often lacking, grew by 40 percent per year on average between 2011 and 2015.

Shaheen has long fought to combat rising drug prices, which hurt every day Americans struggling to afford the medication they need, as well as first responders in New Hampshire who carry naloxone, the antidote that reverses opioid overdoses. Earlier this year, Senator Shaheen spoke on the Senate floor and urged her Senate colleagues to vote against confirming Alex Azar as the Secretary of Health and Human Services (HHS), in part, due to his history as a pharmaceutical executive where he opposed government regulations on drug pricing and saw net prices of pharmaceuticals manufactured by his former company increase by double digit percentages. Shaheen previously backed bipartisan legislation to help reduce the costs of prescription drugs, which was introduced by Senators Amy Klobuchar (D-MN) and John McCain (R-AZ). In March, Shaheen introduced legislation with Senator Claire McCaskill (D-MO) that would eliminate the tax deduction for big pharmaceutical companies’ advertising costs, which is currently subsidized by taxpayers.