WASHINGTON - U.S. Senator Amy Klobuchar (D-MN) released the following statement on today’s announcement of the first ten drugs that will be subject to Medicare price negotiations beginning in 2026. This was made possible through provisions based on Klobuchar’s legislation to lift the nearly 20-year ban that stopped Medicare from being able to negotiate lower drug prices for seniors signed into law last year.
“The cost of prescription drugs is simply too high. For too long, big drug companies have put their profits ahead of the well-being of millions of Americans who need life-sustaining medications. That is why I have worked for years to end the big drug companies’ sweetheart deal that artificially raised prices at the expense of our seniors. Today, we took a historic step toward lowering the price of some of the most widely-used, costly medications with the announcement of the first batch of drugs that will be subject to price negotiations with Medicare. I’ll keep fighting to make sure that all Americans can access the medications they need.”
The first ten drugs selected for Medicare drug price negotiation to lower prices are:
- Eliquis, which prevents and treats blood clots and was taken by 3,505,000 Medicare Part D enrollees last year;
- Jardiance, which treats diabetes and heart failure and was taken by 1,321,000 Medicare Part D enrollees last year;
- Xarelto, which prevents and treats blood clots and reduces risks for patients with coronary or peripheral artery disease. This drug was taken by 1,311,000 Medicare Part D enrollees last year.
- Januvia, which treats diabetes and was taken by 885,000 Medicare Part D enrollees last year;
- Farxiga, which treats diabetes, heart failure, and chronic kidney disease, and was taken by 639,000 Medicare Part D enrollees last year;
- Entresto, which treats heart failure and was taken by 521,000 Medicare Part D enrollees last year;
- Enbrel, which treats rheumatoid arthritis, psoriasis, and psoriatic arthritis, and was taken by 47,000 Medicare Part D enrollees last year;
- Imbruvica, which treats blood cancers and was taken by 22,000 Medicare Part D enrollees last year;
- Stelara, which treats psoriasis, psoriatic arthritis, Crohn’s disease, and Ulcerative Colitis, and was taken by 20,000 Medicare Part D enrollees last year;
- And Fiasp, Fiasp FlexTouch, Fiasp PenFill, Novolog, Novolog Flexpen, and Novolog Penfill which treat diabetes and were taken by 763,000 Medicare Part D enrollees last year.
Klobuchar has long led efforts to lower drug prices.
The Empowering Medicare Seniors to Negotiate Drug Prices Act, Klobuchar’s bill to end the ban on Medicare negotiating lower prescription drug prices for Medicare’s 50 million seniors and help lower drug prices for all Americans was signed into law last August as part of the Inflation Reduction Act.
This past April, Klobuchar, Senator Peter Welch (D-VT), and 28 of their colleagues introduced the Strengthening Medicare and Reducing Taxpayer (SMART) Prices Act which would give the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) enhanced authority to negotiate for Medicare Part D.
In February, two of Klobuchar and Senator Chuck Grassley’s (R-IA) bipartisan bills to promote competition and reduce drug prices - the Preserving Access to Affordable Generics and Biosimilars Act and the Stop STALLING Act - passed the Senate Judiciary Committee by voice vote.
The Preserving Access to Affordable Generics and Biosimilars Act would limit anticompetitive “pay-for-delay” deals that prevent or delay the introduction of affordable follow-on versions of branded pharmaceuticals.
The Stop Significant and Time-wasting Abuse Limiting Legitimate Innovation of New Generics (Stop STALLING) Act would deter pharmaceutical companies from filing sham petitions with the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in order to interfere with the approval of generic and biosimilar medicines that compete with their own brand products, a tactic that delays patient access to affordable medications.
In June 2022, Klobuchar and Representative Katie Porter (D-CA) urged the Department of Justice (DOJ) and Federal Trade Commission (FTC) to examine the parallel price increases for two commonly-used blood thinner medications: Janssen Pharmaceuticals’ Xarelto and Bristol-Myers Squibb (BMS)-Pfizer’s Eliquis. The lawmakers expressed concern that lockstep pricing practices and the general lack of competitive behavior exhibited by these drug sellers may constitute potential unlawful conduct.
In February 2022, Klobuchar and Senator Bernie Sanders (I-VT) introduced the Cutting Medicare Prescription Drug Prices in Half Act, which would allow Medicare to pay the same prices for prescription drugs as the Veterans’ Administration (VA). The prices the VA pays for prescription drugs are roughly half the amount of prices paid by Medicare Part D for the same products.
In February 2021, Klobuchar and Grassley introduced bipartisan legislation to allow imports of more affordable prescription drugs from Canada. The Safe and Affordable Drugs from Canada Act would allow Americans to safely import prescription drugs from Canada, lowering prices for consumers and promoting competition in the pharmaceutical market.