WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Amy Klobuchar (D-MN) released the following statement today after the Senate Finance Committee voted to uphold the ban preventing Medicare from negotiating on behalf of the 43 million seniors enrolled in Medicare Part D. 

“In a loss for seniors across the country, today the Senate Finance Committee voted to uphold the ban keeping Medicare from negotiating on behalf of the 43 million seniors enrolled in Medicare Part D. American seniors deserve a better deal, and my legislation would lift the restriction that prohibits Medicare from negotiating the best possible prescription drug prices so we can increase the affordability of critical medications. The Senate must act now to pass legislation that would lower the cost of prescription drugs.”

Senator Klobuchar has long championed efforts to bring down the skyrocketing cost of prescription drugs and introduced the Empowering Medicare Seniors to Negotiate Drug Prices Act—that has 34 Senate cosponsors—to lift the ban on Medicare negotiating for the best possible price of prescription drugs for nearly 43 million seniors enrolled in Medicare Part D.

For years, Senator Klobuchar has worked across the aisle to accomplish the goal of reducing the price of prescription drugs. Klobuchar and Senator Chuck Grassley (R-IA) are the lead sponsors of the Preserve Access to Affordable Generics and Biosimilars Act, which would limit “pay-for-delay” deals in which drug manufacturers use anti-competitive pay-off agreements to prevent or delay the introduction of affordable follow-on versions of branded pharmaceuticals, and the Safe and Affordable Drugs from Canada Act, which would allow individuals to safely import certain prescription drugs from Canada.

In April, Klobuchar and Grassley introduced bipartisan, bicameral legislation—the Stop Significant and Time-wasting Abuse Limiting Legitimate Innovation of New Generics (Stop STALLING) Act—to curb the abuse of the Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA) petition process and increase access to affordable prescription drugs. The bill would reduce the incentives for branded pharmaceutical companies to interfere with the regulatory approval of generics and biosimilars that would compete with their own products, a tactic that delays patient access to more affordable medications. The bill would also give the Federal Trade Commission enhanced authority to take action against those who file sham petitions. 

Klobuchar and Grassley also introduced the Creating and Restoring Equal Access to Equivalent Samples (CREATES) Act with Senator Patrick Leahy (D-VT), which would address abuses and delay tactics that prevent generic companies from performing the necessary testing and distribution necessary for FDA approval. Klobuchar and Senator Mike Lee (R-UT) also introduced the Short on Competition Act to allow the temporary importation of drugs that have been approved in another country with similar safety requirements and face little or no competition in the U.S.