Pharma “buys” politicians and patients lose

SUMMARY: Senator McConnell vowed to block prescription drug plan that would save $345 billion calling it a “socialist” program that would do “damage to the healthcare system.” He also defended a lawsuit to undo the Affordable Care Act’s protection of insurance for pre-existing health conditions even though it’s become a problem for Republican candidates in the campaign for control of Congress. A politician bought by pharma.

The bill, called the Lower Drug Costs Now Act, would require the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) to negotiate prices on insulin products and a minimum of 25 of the most expensive drugs that do not have generic competition. It would also penalize companies that increase the cost of drugs faster than the rate of inflation and set an annual out-of-pocket maximum of $2,000 for Medicare Part D beneficiaries. The bill, which passed the House Energy and Commerce Committee on Thursday, would save CMS $345 billion by 2029, according to the Congressional Budget Office.  However, its DOA in the Senate thanks to McConnel who gets free healthcare.

McConnell’s opposition to the bill comes after he had an exceptional quarter of fundraising from executives and PACs of pharmaceutical companies that could be forced to reduce the prices of their drugs under Medicare if Pelosi’s bill becomes law. From July 1 to Sept. 30, McConnell’s joint fundraising committee and campaign committee raised $195,300 from executives and PACs of pharmaceutical companies, according to third-quarter Federal Election Commission filings reviewed by Sludge.

The CEOs of Abbvie, Bristol-Myers Squibb, Merck, Pfizer, Roche Pharmaceuticals, and Sanofi each contributed $15,600 to McConnell’s joint fundraising committee in the third quarter. Novo Nordisk Executive Vice President Doug Langa chipped in $10,000, Amgen CEO Robert Bradway gave $7,500, and Celgene CEO Mark Alles contributed $5,000.

McConnell’s Senate committee received contributions from several pharmaceutical industry PACs during the quarter, including those affiliated with Allergan ($7,500), Sunovion ($5,000), Celgene ($2,500), and the Biotechnology Innovation Organization ($1,000).

Opt Ed

I can’t express in words how angry this makes me. The argument that PhRMA keeps throwing in our face about lower prices harming innovation just isn’t valid.

Medicare should be negotiating lower prices with drug companies, it’s basic logic! McConnell is a cancer in politics that has to be removed.