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Congressman Vicente Gonzalez

Representing the 15th District of Texas

Congressman Gonzalez Highlights New AP Investigation Showing Prescription Drug Prices Soaring

October 3, 2018
Press Release

WASHINGTON – Congressman Vicente Gonzalez (TX-15) today highlighted a new Associated Press report showing soaring prescription drug prices.

Since December 2017, the American people have witnessed massive payouts for pharmaceutical companies, and reports show the pharmaceutical industry is using a large portion of its windfall from corporate tax cuts to boost its stock prices, while continuing to raise drug prices. According to the AP’s investigation, families have been faced 96 price hikes for every one price cut over the first seven months of 2018:

·         There were more than 4,412 brand-name drug price increases during this period;

·         In June and July alone, there were 395 price increases;

·         Families were hit with a median price increase of 5.2 percent in June and July of 2018.

“Little is being done to fix America’s prescription drug market,” Congressman Gonzalez said. “Millions of families, senior citizens, and sick Americans only continue to see rising prescription drug prices. I pledge to reverse unacceptable trend and lower prescription drug prices For The People. I encourage all Members of Congress to support A Better Deal to Lower the Cost of Prescription Drug Prices – which would create a new “price gouging” enforcer to stop outrageous behavior in its tracks, allow Medicare Part D to negotiate drug prices and require drug manufacturers to publicly release hard data and information justifying any significant price increase.”

In May, Congressman Gonzalez joined Congressman Doug Collins (R-GA-09) to introduce H.R. 5958, the Phair Pricing Act of 2018, bipartisan legislation to lower the cost of prescription medications for patients in the Medicare Part D program.

The Phair Pricing Act would direct all price concessions, incentive payments and price adjustments between a pharmacy and a prescription drug plan (PDP) sponsor or Pharmacy Benefit Manager (PBM) to be included at the point of sale in order to decrease patients' medication costs. The bill seeks to bring transparency to a notoriously complex industry by compelling PBMs to disclose to Centers for Medicare and Medicaid (CMS)fees, price concessions and programs that they employ. This requirement would prevent companies from circumventing CMS regulations by restructuring or renaming their fees.

The legislation would also direct the Secretary of Health and Human Services to establish a working group to determine the quality measures that apply to pharmacy operations. Currently, PDP sponsors and PBMs can arbitrarily impose quality measures on pharmacies, often to maximize their own financial gain and with no apparent benefit to patient care.

It continues to be Congressman Gonzalez’s mission in Congress to make affordable, accessible healthcare and prescription drugs readily available to all Central and South Texans.

 

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