Source: United States Senator for Maine Susan Collins
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Washington, D.C. — U.S. Senator Susan Collins delivered remarks from the Senate floor highlighting the bipartisan work underway in the Senate to help Americans struggling with the high cost of prescription drugs. Senator Collins is the Chairman of the Senate Aging Committee and a member of the Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions (HELP) Committee.
“I rise today to highlight the bipartisan work underway in the Senate to help Americans struggling with the high cost of prescription drugs. This problem particularly affects our seniors, 90 percent of whom take at least one prescription drug. It is critical that we continue to build momentum on this important pocketbook issue that I believe bridges the partisan divide,” said Senator Collins. “My hope is that we can build upon this momentum as three different committees of the Senate have all been successful in reporting to the full Senate three bipartisan bills. Our HELP Committee bill was reported by a vote of 20 to 3—that is remarkable consensus. Let us bring all of these bills to the Senate floor this fall, or certainly by the end of the year, so that we can deliver real results to the American people by lowering the price of prescription drugs.”
Senator Collins has made it a priority to lower the soaring costs of prescription drugs. In 2015, Senator Collins and then-Senator Claire McCaskill (D-MO) launched the Senate’s first bipartisan investigation into the causes, impacts, and potential solutions to egregious price spikes for certain off-patent drugs. They released a report on their investigation in 2016. Following their investigation, Senators Collins and McCaskill authored a bill to improve generic competition and lower the cost of prescription drugs that was signed into law as part of the FDA Reauthorization Act. In October 2018, Senator Collins’ legislation to prohibit the use of pharmacy “gag clauses” was signed into law after passing both the House of Representatives and the Senate with overwhelming bipartisan support.
Earlier this year, Senator Collins introduced the Biologic Patent Transparency Act to help block the harmful patent strategies that prevent lower-cost biosimilars from coming to market. Portions of this bill were included in the Lower Health Care Costs Act of 2019, which passed the HELP Committee last month by a vote of 20-3. The Prescription Drug Pricing Reduction Act (PDPRA) of 2019, which passed the Finance Committee last week by a vote of 19 to 9, includes legislation introduced by Senator Collins and Aging Committee Ranking Member Bob Casey (D-PA) that codifies and builds on the existing CMS Drug Pricing Dashboards to include consumer-friendly information about out-of-pocket costs for individuals enrolled in Medicare. In addition, in May Senators Collins, Rick Scott (R-FL), and Cory Gardner (R-CO) introduced the Prescription Drug Price Reporting Act, legislation that would provide much-needed transparency for prescription drug prices. Last week, Senators Collins and Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH), the co-chairs of the Senate Diabetes Caucus, introduced new legislation to combat the skyrocketing cost of insulin.