Advocacy / AMAC Action On Capitol Hill / Healthcare

AMAC Opposes The Lower Drug Costs Now Act of 2019

amac membership Americans refuge core values country great equality act health care AMAC Action capitolThe Honorable Frank Pallone
Chairman
House Energy and Commerce Committee
Washington, DC 20515

The Honorable Greg Walden
Ranking Member
House Energy and Commerce Committee
Washington, DC 20515

Dear Chairman Pallone and Ranking Member Walden,

On behalf of the 2 million seniors and members of the Association of Mature American Citizens (AMAC), I write in opposition to the Lower Drug Costs Now Act of 2019, H.R. 3. This legislation would negatively affect seniors and the private sector health system.

This legislation demands that pharmaceutical companies negotiate drug prices with the government. The requirement amounts to accepting a mandate from the government about what prices to charge, further removing drug sales from the private sector. If a pharmaceutical company does not comply with the prices set by the federal government on medications where there is no generic or biosimilar equivalent, it could face a massive penalty on each drug.

The price fixing policies in H.R. 3 would severely damage private sector research and development of new potentially lifesaving medications. The legislation would limit the availability of existing medications. Americans are currently experiencing artificial drug shortages due in part to the business practices in the hospital and outpatient prescription drug supply chains – this bill would exacerbate an already serious situation while failing to address the structural issues with drug pricing.

H.R. 3 resurrects policies that have failed in the past, limits therapeutic options for patients and virtually guarantees the destruction of private drug therapy research and development. AMAC is dedicated to protecting the rights of mature Americans. We strongly oppose a government takeover of healthcare d rug processes and urge you to consider both the political and economic repercussions of the Lower Drug Costs Now Act of 2019.

Sincerely,

Dan Weber
President and Founder,
Association of Mature Americans Citizens


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Bryan Greenwood
2 years ago

Most new drugs have the same efficacy as older versions. Just they are more profitable. Big pharma is all about big profits, they don’t care about your ailments or ability to pay. Research will not suffer at all by reducing costs in big pharma or ANY healthcare related industry. We have all seen the greed recently in big pharma. REDUCE PHARMACEUTICAL COSTS NOW! They should be reduced by 2/3 at least. The pharmaceuticals of the past work just fine, they just aren’t as profitable to big pharma. Case in point. Lidocaine used in reducing irritability of the heart is cheap. However a new drug recommended by a Doctor on the board of the American Heart association, is now used. It has the exact efficacy as Lidocaine. This same Doctor is also on the board of the pharmaceutical company that makes the new drug!

Laurie White
2 years ago

We don’t want the government to have control of anything else.

Dan W.
2 years ago

Medicare (the CMS) is the largest buyer of prescription drugs. Under current law, Medicare is not allowed to negotiate drug prices with the drug companies. The result is higher drug prices for seniors.

Simply lift this prohibition and allow Medicare to to negotiate with the drug companies. Then drug companies could choose either to negotiate their prices with Medicare or to forego accepting payments from Medicare.

Elena Tellez
2 years ago

I do not worry about Big Pharma’s future research. They are highly profitable, corrupt companies who do not care one iota about people… their customers’ health or finances. Most of them are foreign-based and in business SOLELY for profit. We in America should not pay one penny more than the drugs are sold for in Europe and other countries. The big pharma companies can scale down their luxury salaries and wasteful spending… and if that is not enough, seek alternative means of financing their research & development. MOST new products that come from their research are similar in effect to much cheaper ‘me-too’ drugs which have existed for years, even decades… and doctors are pressured (even bribed) to Rx the new drugs. Some older ‘tried & true drugs’ are safer. Also, America needs to look more at chiropractic, acupressure, acupuncture and other natural & herbal remedies. They often (but not always) work as well as Rx synthetic drugs, cost less and are less harmful to our livers / kidneys, etc. If we lowered drug prices, Big Pharma would find alternative financing, through investors, floating bonds, etc. — free market forces.
I don’t believe our government should fix prices on optional products/services (like cars, vegetables, shampoo — the market takes care of that. I DO believe government should either limit Big Pharma prices — because we ALL NEED healthcare (it is not an option)… or perhaps volume purchase drugs for all of us. They could also require drug, doctor and hospital prices to be published, so the public can pick and choose how it spends its healthcare dollars. So, I seldom disagree with Mr. Weber, but this time I do…with all due respect for your wonderful organization.

Kathy Thompson
2 years ago

I like this response to the “Lower Drug Costs Now Act 2019 – HR3. I agree with everything that was said and urge those pushing this act to cease and desist. I want government out of our business rather than trying to regulate everything. Thank you. Let the States manage this.

Laura Carder
2 years ago

I have a better idea. Promote chiropractic care rather than most back surgeries, natural remedies, nutrition, etc. rather than drugs most of the time. Force the pharmaceutical industry to compete. Then they will have to lower their prices. If sour honey produced in the Amazon is far more effective than chemo for curing cancer, let’s prove it.

Dan W.
2 years ago
Reply to  Laura Carder

And don’t forget physical therapy.

Two months of physical therapy relieved 100% of the pain that I was experiencing from a bad lumbar disk. (I had gotten no relief from both over-the-counter and various prescription drugs.)

barb w.
2 years ago
Reply to  Laura Carder

Essential oils does not cure cancer any more than diet will not cure my insulin resistance only maintain it in a state of lower carb or keto. I have PCOS. I have to take some medicine to treat it. I would like to see it more affordable.

Diana
2 years ago

Look before obamacare came to be I never paid as much for my Non generic medicine, it never cost me over $20.00 even for my pain medication, that worked better than what I can get now, I pay $250.00 a mo. For just my pain medication ,and we are retired so it hurts even worse, get back to where we were before illegal obamacare came along, he even cost us our nest egg, we had FREE medical, and Medicine, I was not old enough for Medicare so we had to us our nest egg to in’s. Me for 3 years at $70,000.00 that took our nest egg and cost us way to much, so the government owes us all that money with compounded interest, for allowing this illegal garbage, I know we are not the only ones obama screwed take his money and assets along with the democratics that Forced this on America, all their assets and money to pay us for their thieving, but pharmaceuticals need to be stopped on this way over charges on drugs, and most don’t even work or cause more dangerous side effects that should Never be allowed

Robert Couchman
2 years ago

Simply look at the VA medical care. All new drugs are unavailable to vets. If it is new and pricey, you cannot have it. That is government cost control.

Franknca
2 years ago

There is one simple and easy way to fix the drug pricing issue and that’s a favored nation status where no price can be charged for a drug in the US for more than it is sold anywhere else in the world. No need for thousand page documents with dozens of amendments. No need to strong arm companies. Price fixing is not the answer as those of us can remember from the Nixon era days of long lines for gasoline.

JES
2 years ago
Reply to  Franknca

That was Carter.

steven jacobs
2 years ago

time and time again these meds are shown NOT to extend life expectancy. Indeed, very often they have side effects that can dramatically reduce quality of life
diabetes
dementia
kidney problems
osteoporosis
etc..
What they DO accomplish is bankrupting the nation-we need fewer meds not more, and certainly not more expensive meds.

Terry Zychowski
2 years ago

As a senior American, I don’t want the government meddling in my Health Ins. any more than it does now. My husband, a 30 year, now retired, police officer has: Heart disease, Type 2 Diabetes, Kidney Disease. He worked in a profession that is driven by adrenalen. He worked out and kept himself in shape for most of those 30 years and after he retired. In 2002, he had open heart surgery. His Diabetes was already on board. Between July, 2017 thru Dec., 2018 he was in and out of the hospital for various reasons. Today, he’s doing OK. Were it not for the Health care we have, I’m not sure where we’d be financially.
This past May I was diagnosed with Breast cancer. Had 2 breast surgeries in June. Thankfully, the cancer was stage 2. I have 1 more radiation treatment and then meet with all Drs. on board for whatever follows.
When are our elected officials going to start working for those of us who have elected them? The immature attitude in DC needs to end. Mustn’t forget, both Rep. & Dems. work for us. Or, do they get elected only to become part of the money making machine and become rich?! I’m just sayin’.

Ruth M
2 years ago

The answer to your last question is “YES”. Peter Sweitzer has a new book out about it.

Sandra Lee
2 years ago

AMAC is correct. If you read H.R.3 and I have, it is clearly giving power and authority to the “government bureaucrats” to regulate pricing and take away more of our freedom. Yes, the pharmaceutical companies are gouging but when any “opening” in the marketplace happens someone just a little smarter, jumps in to fill that void. Example, Good Rx, Blink Health, etc.
Blink saved me hundred of dollars on ONE script. There are more and more companies being started by this “opening” that big Pharma has created by being greedy. Don’t be so anxious to give away a basic freedom necessary to our society, i.e., entrepreneurship. The market will regulate itself. it is our life blood.

David Hosler
2 years ago
Reply to  Sandra Lee

Yes, keep the government out of price controls, look at what pres. Abama did with our health system it may never recover as long as government is instrumental in controlling it. They can not even make decisions for keeping our country strong. They can make decisions to help themselves, by robbing social security to pay for their own worthless promises. If we do not get term limits for the House and Senate our country will be doomed. Their to greefy and stupid to understand that when expenses are greater than income you go bankrupt.
Its just a matter of time. Lawyers are in the lead in their desire for greed. They make laws that are being less and less enforced even as they make money at other people’s expense. Its not a matter of protection.

Annie Jones
2 years ago
Reply to  Sandra Lee

As stated by the Dr. I first saw today, he spoke truthfully. As he and talked, I stated the US government wanted anyone over 50 DEAD! He stated, “Yes.” Further staring so SS could go back into the U S Government funds and I added the illegal aliens.
My mom got her asthma meds for about a $1.50 in the early ‘80s and could have money to live on after my father died from a now recognized condition from service in Korea with 3 going into college. He received no veteran assistance except for the funeral.
Now, after working so very hard including 5 jobs at once, I had worked my way to success only to go on Disability and support her.
There is no win. I qualify for nothing honest.
She qualifies for nothing honest. Our government is corrupt and all should be held accountable from the top down by small business owners. SBA is the only hope for all of US! Small Businesses are the Real backbone of the American people!

But God is needed first!

Joseph canna
2 years ago

Do not understand AMACs position.Govt thru Medicare sets pricing,for. Medicare services and it works fine.Govt negotiated drug prices should have been done at that time.I believe it was not done due to stronger pharmacy lobby vs medical.If not wrong I think the lobby got a law preventing govt from negotiating.Instead of another law they need to drop the non nego – law that is on books.What does A MAC recommend to lower drug costs?Please post what A MAC recommends for our evaluation Why or how is it possible to get same drugs cheaper from Canada?Why not let let us buy from Canada or any country that is cheaper.

Roger Adams
2 years ago
Reply to  Joseph canna

I know that AMAC has worked to remove the middleman money group purchasing organizations and pharmacy benefit mangers receive from suppliers and drug manufacturers from these supply chains. From what I’ve read, that alone would save many millions of dollars in drug costs for everyone, including Medicare beneficiaries. Sounds to me like a good place to start.

Charles Truthan
2 years ago
Reply to  Joseph canna

The Government “sets pricing” for medical services REGARDLESS of the ACTUAL costs of the service being provided. They set their price at 80% reimbursement of their “price”. Giving the Government an additional 20% discount. For Medicaid, they set their price at 60% reimbursement of their “price”. These “reimbursement” rates are derived from fictional formulas that do not mean anything in the real world of medicine. It is based upon “production costs of widgets” and presumes the “machinery” can be turned up to run faster to produce more “widgets”. It totally ignores the Physician – Patient relationship which is TIME BASED, not “Unit Based” production!

The “savings” for these “reimbursements” is SHIFTED TO PRIVATE INSURANCE COMPANIES AND THOSE WITHOUT INSURANCE! The classic “Cost Shifting shell game” that our government does all the time.

As for Medication/Drug pricing, there are several factors that the Government AND the Pharmacies do not talk about:
1. A brand name (proprietary) drug is only permitted a 1% variation between lot productions. Meaning if you are prescribed a Brand name drug for 100 mg strength, you will get a drug with 99 to 101mg EVERY TIME you refill your prescription with a Brand name.
2. A generic drug is permitted a 25% variation between lot productions, and that is for the “active” ingredient. Meaning if you are prescribed a GENERIC drug for 100 mg strength, you will get a drug with 75mg to 125 mg active ingredient every time you get or refill your prescription. (If you are on a medication with a “narrow therapeutic window” such as Coumadin or digitalis, and are having trouble keeping your levels consistent from month to month, if you are on a generic drug, that alone could be the cause!)
3. A Generic drug does not have to include the other “chemicals” that are in the Brand drug that allow the active ingredient to get through the severe acid environment of the stomach, and then the severe basic environment of the small intestine and then through the “first pass” through the filtration/elimination of the Liver before getting to the cells of the rest of the body.
4. When filling and sending a medication a Canadian drug to any country OUTSIDE CANADA, there is NO Governmental oversight of the process or medication required. In other words the Canadian version of the FDA is NOT involved in the process for prescriptions filled-sent outside Canada.
5, The pharmacy’s mark up on Generic drugs is significantly higher than on Brand drugs. Yes, they cost us the consumer less, but their profit margin is higher!

Finally, NO other country in the world has a legal Tort system of punishment like the USA! That is a BIG reason why even brand named US drugs are sold overseas less expensively. They do not have to be prepared to pay out big money for lawsuits (frivolous or worthy suits).

Robert Couchman
2 years ago
Reply to  Joseph canna

Look at the number of doctors who do not accept Medicare. Plus with Medicare alone you will be bankrupt shortly

Jim Fullilove
2 years ago
Reply to  Joseph canna

Because buying from Canada or other countries is not addressing the issue. The pharmaceutical companies’ lobbies are keeping the prices high to benefit the drug companies. That’s their job. Buying from another country is giving them a wink. AMAc is right and working for what is right. Hard to do with a House full of Rep who are more interested in keeping their seat than doing what’s best for the country.

Tom
2 years ago

Dan,
The markup on many prescriptions is 10,000 per cent. This is ludicrous and needs to be changed. Most store markup is 30% to 50% and that is plenty. Do you home work buddy, we the American Citizens are being SCREWED OVER by the Drug Companies. Time to Wakie, Wakie.
So my question is how much are you and/or your organization being PAID by the drug lobby. And you wonder why the more intelligence among us are buying from Canada??? DUH!!!
Blessings to you and yours.

billy t
2 years ago
Reply to  Tom

So your solution is to price fix the cost of drugs? Did you even read the letter? EVERYWHERE price controls have been immplemented have led to drug shortages and rationing. And please, to suggest that AMAC is on the payroll of the drug lobby is just plain NON-SENSE!

steven jacobs
2 years ago
Reply to  Tom

Forget Canada-compare the cost in America to the cost of the same med in INDIA

Russel Goebert
2 years ago
Reply to  steven jacobs

That’s because many or most of the drugs purchased from Canada are actually produced in India. in some cases the shipment (direct to you) gets held up for investigation at the customs house so it is necessary to order well enough in advance of when you will need them. Price is right however. Quality is a matter of trust. If the drug is one that is keeping you alive, it may not be a good choice.

Karon Hoffman
2 years ago
Reply to  Tom

I agree completely. I am on medicare with a drug plan. I have gone through my savings paying the high prescription prices that people without medicare don’t have to pay. And it’s all because the drug companies don’t negotiate with medicare. People that are eligible for medicare pay way more than anyone else for the same drugs. This site is obviously working to make the drug companies richer and hurting the old people that can’t live without their medications.

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