Congress is poised to pass a funding bill this week that includes a $2.6 billion increase for medical research at the National Institutes of Health (NIH). The measure, agreed upon by both House and Senate conference committee members, also provides $296 million increase for the National Cancer Institute (NCI).
House Leadership Proposes Broad Legislation to Reduce Patient Out-Of-Pocket Drug Costs
Medicare Part D Cap, HHS Drug Price Negotiation and International Pricing Proposed
Washington, D.C.—September 19, 2019—Today House Speaker, Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.), introduced legislation intended to bring down patient drug costs. The bill includes a provision to cap Medicare beneficiaries’ out-of-pocket prescription drug costs in Medicare Part D, allow the Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary to negotiate prices for some drugs, and link select drug prices to the rates paid by other industrialized countries, among several other proposed changes. ACS CAN will continue to evaluate proposed provisions in the package to determine potential impact on cancer patients and survivors.
A statement from Lisa Lacasse, president of the American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network (ACS CAN) follows:
“We welcome Speaker Pelosi and House leadership’s action to address the rising costs of prescription drugs for patients, especially those enrolled in Medicare. Cancer patients often need some of the most expensive drugs on the market to treat their disease and mitigate side effects; implementing a cap on Medicare Part D out-of-pocket costs would provide some financial relief for these patients. We are pleased to see the House legislation sets the out-of-pocket cap at $2,000 and welcome the opportunity to work with the committee as they address policy proposals to keep the cap low and spread out those costs throughout the year.
"Medicare provides essential health coverage to millions of Americans with a history of cancer. These patients need to have access to the best available therapies at costs they can afford.”
“Details of the secretarial negotiation provision will be important as the provision could impact patient out-of-pocket costs for those in Medicare, and by extension those with employer-sponsored, private and Medicaid insurance. Many cancer drugs have only a single manufacturer and could be included in such negotiations. We look forward to working with lawmakers to find ways to best reduce costs while also preserving patient access to these drugs.
“Preserving uninterrupted access should also be paramount when considering tying U.S. drug prices to those in other industrialized countries including, Australia, Canada, France, Germany, Japan and the United Kingdom. The inherent challenge would be balancing the need to incentivize continued innovation and development of new cancer drugs with greater affordability of these therapies.
“ACS CAN looks forward to continuing to review the package and working with the House to address changes to Part D as well as other proposals that would directly affect cancer patients and survivors.”