Press Conference: Prescription Drug Affordability Act September 10, 2015

Sep 10, 2015
Press Release

Remarks of Rep. Elijah E. Cummings

Ranking Member, House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform


Press Conference: Prescription Drug Affordability Act September 10, 2015


            I am very pleased to be here today, and I thank Senator Sanders for his strong leadership on this issue. 


Senator Sanders did a terrific job laying out the specifics of what is in the bill, so let me just add a couple of points.


First, a recent poll issued by the Kaiser Family Foundation reported that 72% of Americans believe drug prices are unreasonable.  It also found that 74% of Americans believe drug companies “put profits before people.” 


Let me just say right at the outset—I believe these people are absolutely right.


Senator Sanders and I have been investigating the skyrocketing prices of certain prescription drugs for some time.


And during our investigation, we have been contacted by a huge range of people—patients, doctors, hospitals, and other healthcare providers—and they all warn about massive increases in the prices of certain medications.


They have given us example after example after example of drug prices that have been jacked up repeatedly—with no apparent justification, and with no evident link to any increases in the costs of manufacturing these drugs.


Let me be clear:  I believe drug companies should be able to make reasonable profits, and I also understand that investors expect reasonable returns. 


But we have reached a breaking point.  In light of 1,000% price increases—and more—American families are just fed up with trying to afford their medications as they watch drug companies rake in record profits.


We believe urgent action is needed to reverse this alarming trend and increase access to lifesaving medications to millions of Americans. 


            That is why I am pleased to be joining Senator Sanders in this effort and to be introducing the House version of the Prescription Drug Affordability Act of 2015.


This bill is a bold and comprehensive approach to reducing prescription drug prices in the United States. 


It includes reforms that will improve the Medicare and Medicaid programs.


It includes common-sense changes to make it easier for consumers to access affordable medications.


And it includes provisions that will enhance transparency, encourage competition, and bring much needed accountability to the prescription drug industry. 


If this bill is enacted, it will help put people before profits, and it will make prescription drugs more affordable and accessible to Americans families.


Finally, I know some people will ask why we are doing this when it is clear that Republicans will oppose our efforts.


Well, let me close by again citing another Kaiser Family Foundation survey. 


An April survey found that the increasing costs of prescription drug prices is now the number one healthcare issue among 66% of Republicans—Republicans.  In fact, it even displaced the Affordable Care Act as the top issue of concern.


So this is a very real issue to the American people, regardless of whether they are Democrats, Republicans, or Independents. 


And it is our hope that our colleagues on both sides of the aisle will help get this bill passed in the House and Senate.


Thank you again, Senator Sanders, for working together with me on this bill and for all your efforts on this issue.


Contact: Jennifer Werner, Communications Director, (202) 226-5181.

114th Congress