The bicameral legislation – cosponsored by 32 Senators – would allow for Medicare to negotiate the best price of prescription drugs, cutting costs for nearly 46 million seniors enrolled in Medicare Part D 

Current law only allows for bargaining by pharmaceutical companies, not Medicare

WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Amy Klobuchar (D-MN) and Representative Peter Welch (D-VT) reintroduced the Empowering Medicare Seniors to Negotiate Drug Prices Act to allow Medicare to negotiate the best price of prescription drugs for seniors enrolled in Medicare Part D. Current law only allows for bargaining by pharmaceutical companies, not Medicare. By harnessing the bargaining power of the nearly 46 million seniors enrolled in the program, Medicare could negotiate bigger discounts from pharmaceutical companies. This bill is co-sponsored by 32 other senators.

Klobuchar, Welch, and their colleagues in the Senate and House are committed to developing and considering a range of solutions to make prescription drugs more affordable for all Americans.

“The skyrocketing cost of prescription drugs in our country is an urgent problem impacting our seniors, and there are solutions on the table to help them access the medications they need at prices they can afford,” said Klobuchar. “My legislation will lift restrictions on Medicare negotiating the best price of prescription drugs for seniors enrolled in Part D. We must put an end to rising health care costs, and this legislation will increase the affordability of critical medications.”

“Leveraging the federal government's enormous purchasing power to cut drug prices for seniors is common sense and long overdue,” said Welch. “Paying retail prices for wholesale drug purchases is wasteful and irresponsible. We need to pass this bill to end big pharma’s sweetheart deal and lower drug prices for 46 million American seniors.”

“Taxpayers and America’s seniors deserve relief from the extortionate monopoly prices charged by prescription drug corporations. The so-called noninterference clause was a bad bargain from the beginning; its author Billy Tauzin went straight out the revolving door to run Big Pharma’s top lobbying group. It’s past time to repeal the clause and let the government negotiate a better deal for America’s seniors. This is a basic, commonsense reform that everyone serious about making medicine affordable can support,” said Peter Maybarduk, Access to Medicines Program Director, Public Citizen.

“Neurology patients and their families are directly affected by the rising cost of medications, and in some cases, patients are less likely to take their medications as often as prescribed. Costs have risen to the point where systematic changes are needed. Even with market competition, prices continue to climb dramatically both for new revolutionary treatments as well as treatments that have been prescribed for decades. The Empowering Medicare Seniors to Negotiate Drug Prices Act will bring savings to patients and the health care system by allowing the government to use its significant purchasing power to secure prescription drugs at a more appropriate price,” said James C. Stevens, MD, FAAN, President of the American Academy of Neurology.

The Empowering Medicare Seniors to Negotiate Drug Prices Act would allow the Secretary of Health and Human Services to directly negotiate with drug companies for price discounts for the Medicare Prescription Drug Program, eliminating the “non-interference” clause that expressly bans Medicare from negotiating for better prices. By bargaining on behalf of nearly 46 million seniors, Medicare would be in a position to secure significant discounts and ensure enrollees are receiving the best prices.

This legislation is cosponsored by Senators Tammy Baldwin (D-WI), Richard Blumenthal (D-CT), Cory Booker (D-NJ), Sherrod Brown (D-OH), Maria Cantwell (D-WA), Ben Cardin (D-MD), Chris Coons (D-DE), Catherine Cortez Masto (D-NV), Tammy Duckworth (D-IL), Dick Durbin (D-IL), Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY), Maggie Hassan (D-NH), Martin Heinrich (D-NM), Mazie Hirono (D-HI), Tim Kaine (D-VA), Mark Kelly (D-AZ), Angus King (I-ME), Patrick Leahy (D-VT), Joe Manchin (D-WV), Jeff Merkley (D-OR), Chris Murphy (D-CT), Patty Murray (D-WA), Gary Peters (D-MI), Jack Reed (D-RI), Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH), Tina Smith (D-MN), Debbie Stabenow (D-MI), Chris Van Hollen (D-MD), Mark Warner (D-VA), Elizabeth Warren (D-MA), Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI), and Ron Wyden (D-OR).

In the House, the legislation is known as the Medicare Prescription Drug Price Negotiation Act and is cosponsored by Representatives Mark Pocan (D-WI), Cathy Castor (D-FL), Raul Grijalva (D-AZ), Stephen Lynch (D-MA), Reuben Gallego (D-AZ), Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D-FL), David Cicilline (D-RI), Chellie Pingree (D-ME), Raul Ruiz (D-CA), Betty McCollum (D-MN), and Carolyn Maloney (D-NY).