Patients need

Medicare to negotiate

lower drug prices on behalf of Americans.

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What is it?

  • Since the creation of the Medicare prescription drug program known as Part D in 2003, Medicare has been banned from negotiating directly with drug companies for lower prices on prescription drugs.
  • Drug companies used their power to get this provision into Part D and have fought to keep it ever since then.
  • This means that for many of the most expensive brand-name drugs, patients have to pay based on whatever price drug companies dictate.
  • Congress can pass legislation to let Medicare negotiate lower drug prices on behalf of Americans.

Why do we need it?

  • Because our government can’t negotiate directly with drug companies, Americans pay three to four times what people in similar countries pay for the exact same brand-name drugs.
  • As a result, 1 in 3 adults report not taking their medication as prescribed due to cost.
  • Improved affordability and access to prescription drugs from Medicare negotiation could lead to 94,000 fewer deaths annually.
  • Negotiation could reduce prices by up to 55 percent, save taxpayers half a trillion dollars, and save American households $120 billion over 10 years.
  • Negotiation would help incentivize drug companies to develop truly innovative new drugs that can command a good return on investment, and disincentivize companies from raising prices at will on old drugs. It will ensure the innovation patients need at prices we can afford.

How do we get it done?

  • America has never been closer to allowing Medicare to negotiate lower drug prices. In late 2021, the House of Representatives voted to pass a reconciliation bill called the Build Back Better Act. The bill included provisions that will meaningfully lower drug prices for Americans, including Medicare negotiation. This major step in the process is thanks to relentless advocacy from patients across the country. The legislation would deliver relief to patients by allowing Medicare to negotiate the prices of some expensive drugs for the first time, curbing Big Pharma’s price hikes so drug prices cannot increase faster than the rate of inflation, capping copays for insulin at $35 for people on Medicare and most commercial insurance plans, and capping out-of-pocket drug costs for Medicare beneficiaries.
  • Now it is in the hands of senators who are considering passing the Build Back Better Act or moving forward with another version of a reconciliation package. And Big Pharma is still fighting back. Your elected officials in Congress are hearing right now from powerful pharma lobbyists who are fighting to kill the drug price reforms. That’s why it is more important now than ever that patients send a clear message to Congress: Pass a reconciliation bill including the reforms to lower drug prices from the Build Back Better Act.
  • We’re closer than we ever have been to changing the lives of millions of Americans by lowering the prices of prescription drugs, but we have no margin for error. When we say every single elected official counts, we mean it. Patients’ lives are on the line. Your elected officials need to hear from you that you are depending on them to pass drug price reform in their reconciliation package NOW.
  • Tell your senators today to pass drug price reforms in the reconciliation package.

President Biden on Medicare Negotiation

Real People, Real STories

Hear from Patient Advocates

“When I was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes, it not only meant a lifetime of managing my condition, but also the beginning of endless challenges of affording the insulin I need to keep me alive. If the government were allowed to negotiate lower drug prices, I could have hope that never again will my wife have to skip meals to make sure I can afford my life-saving medication.”

— Marcus LaCour
Cincinnati, Ohio

“As a retired senior, I have Medicare for prescription drug coverage. The monthly price of the Imbruvica I need to manage my cancer is now over $14,000. Who can possibly afford that? We need Medicare to be able to negotiate for lower drug prices for me and all of the other patients who are struggling.”

— Lynn Scarfuto
Herkimer, New York

“People have to choose between eating and their medications. They have to choose between life and death. And that should not be a choice. It is long past time for Congress to pass legislation to allow Medicare to negotiate fair prescription drug prices on behalf of people like me.”

— Patricia McKenzie
Lithonia, Georgia

What the Experts are Saying

“Medicare should negotiate drug prices across the board… This isn’t a partisan issue. Alzheimer’s, diabetes, and cancer don’t care if you’re a Democrat or a Republican. This is about whether or not you and your loved ones can afford the prescription drugs you need.”

— President Joe Biden

“There is no reason why Americans pay two or three times as much for drugs that are manufactured in the U.S. as do people in other countries. So, we’re going to go and do something the old-fashioned way, an American tradition: negotiate to get a better price. Congress looks like it’s on its way to making [Medicare negotiation] happen, and we will do everything we can at HHS to support their efforts.”

— HHS Secretary Xavier Becerra

“Our goal is to lower the cost of prescription drugs for the American people. In order to do that, it is essential we have the power to negotiate.”

— House Speaker Nancy Pelosi

“The American people are overwhelmingly of the view that when you have 50 million seniors plus in Medicare, the program ought to negotiate to get them a good deal. Who in the world doesn’t negotiate when you got all those people who are counting on you?”

— Senate Finance Committee Chairman Ron Wyden

“Americans pay three, four, or ten times the amount that people pay in other countries for the exact same drug. How is that fair? It’s not — in fact, it’s outrageous and it is long past time that we negotiate a better deal for Americans.”

— House Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Frank Pallone, Jr.

On allowing Medicare to negotiate drug prices: “That should have been done years ago. How in the heck that never was done doesn’t make any sense at all.”

— Sen. Joe Manchin

“It is an unconscionable abuse to the American people that pharma does not compete for drugs provided under Medicare Part D. We are the defenders of competition and free enterprise, so why not with pharma? Allowing Medicare to negotiate prescription drug prices for over 43 million Americans enrolled in Medicare Part D is one of the best solutions to lower medication costs and ensure access to the prescriptions they need. These negotiations will make prescription prices lower for our seniors.”

— Former Rep. Francis Rooney

“Legislation that allows Medicare to negotiate lower drug prices on behalf of Americans will ensure we get the innovation we need at prices patients can afford. Let’s get it done.”

— David Mitchell, Cancer patient and founder of Patients For Affordable Drugs Now