By Karen Stokes
On Wednesday, President Biden was in Las Vegas discussing how his prescription drug law is lowering health care costs and prescription drug prices for seniors across the country. Americans pay two to three times more for prescription drugs than citizens in other countries and the President and Congressional Democrats took on special interests to finally lower prices for Americans.
For decades, leaders have tried to take on Big Pharma and allow Medicare to negotiate lower prescription drug costs for seniors and failed. President Biden and Congressional Democrats finally got it done with the Inflation Reduction Act.
“The president has made lowering drug prices his key priority and we are making historic progress through the Inflation Reduction Act. So we are announcing a lot more data on how the new drug law is helping people all over the country, particularly people with Medicare,” said Chiquita Brooks-Lasure, head of CMS.
“A couple of things we announced on Wednesday is first, the Inflation Rebate Program which is really designed to provide a powerful incentive for drug companies to make sure they don’t increase their prices above inflation. Based on the data, there are 27 drugs that people who are on Medicare may see lower drug costs starting in April and that amount will vary based on the drugs they use but I think this is an incredible first step in how the new drug law is affecting people all over the country,” Brooks-Lasure said.
The new report also suggests 3.4 million seniors and people with disabilities could save an average of $70 per year because of free recommended vaccines.
“Starting early this year in January , vaccines like shingles and other vaccines that are recommended by the CDC are free for people with Medicare. Insulin is capped at $35 for a month’s supply; these are already in effect,” said Brooks-Lasure.
Two of the three largest producers of insulin in the country – Eli Lilly and Novo Nordisk – announced they’re meeting President Biden’s call and lowering insulin costs.
According to the White House, The ability to negotiate lower prescription drug prices is one of the most powerful tools Medicare has to lower health care costs for American seniors and families. To that end, President Biden last week called for expanding Medicare’s negotiating authority to cover more drugs, sooner after they launch, when he released his FY2024 budget.