April 03, 2017

ICYMI: Senator Hassan Highlights Legislation to Lower the Cost of Prescription Drugs for New Hampshire Seniors & Families

ICYMI: Senator Hassan Highlights Legislation to Lower the Cost of Prescription Drugs for New Hampshire Seniors & Families

WASHINGTON - Last week, Senator Maggie Hassan was joined by concerned Granite Staters at Nashua City Hall to highlight a new landmark bill to bring down the skyrocketing cost of prescription drugs.

The Improving Access to Affordable Prescription Drugs Act would help ensure that drug companies put patients before profits and bring much-needed relief to families and seniors in New Hampshire and across America, including far too many who are forced to make the agonizing choice between paying for life-saving drugs and putting food on the table. The bill seeks to tackle prescription drug costs bycracking down on bad actors in the industry,increasing transparency and accountability, boosting access and affordability of key drugs, spurring innovation, and increasing choice and competition.

See below for highlights of coverage of Friday's press conference:

WMUR:

WMUR's Jean Mackin: Senator Maggie Hassan wants to crack down on high-cost prescription drugs. Today in Nashua she highlighted a bill that aims to increase access and affordability of key drugs. The Senator said it's time drug makers put patients before profits.

Click here for WMUR's coverage of Friday's press conference

Nashua Telegraph: Cancer patient shares story in pitch for prescription cost reform legislation

Andy Weir, of Hampstead, knows about tough choices. He was faced with making them during his several bouts with cancer.

In 2000, Weir was diagnosed with a form of leukemia that is slow-growing. Eventually, it caught up with him.

... A pill treatment was presented to him by doctors "that would enable me to avoid chemotherapy and just take three pills every day for the rest of my life. They were optimistic that it would give me another opportunity to get a bunch of years in of normal living."

His long journey battling cancer by then had moved to Medicare. Weir grew curious about shared costs, so he asked his health care provider what the out-of-pocket costs would be.

The first month would be $7,348.25. For the remaining 11 months, it would cost him $2,398.25 a month.

How do people do that? he asked himself.

Weir went to his oncologist and asked whether chemotherapy was an option. If necessary, he would take the pills, but chemo was covered by his insurance.

... Weir's testimony anchored an event at which U.S. Sen. Maggie Hassan, D-N.H., discussed legislation that she presented this week aimed at pressing down the costs of prescriptions.

... Hassan said the bill, introduced by Sen. Al Franken this week, would force drug companies to disclose how much they spend on marketing, research and manufacturing, allow Medicare to negotiate prices of prescription drugs and allow importation of drugs from Canada.

Hassan said it would also promote development of new treatments for bacterial infections and funding for clinical trials, and reward innovative drug development.

Additionally, the bill would make it illegal for pharmaceutical companies to pay other drug manufacturers to delay release of generic versions of their creations, as well as "end the senseless tax breaks for drug companies," Hassan said.

... "No one should be forced to decide between putting food on the table and filling a prescription that could improve, or even save, his or her life."

...Donchess praised Hassan's efforts.

"Common sense says if you are a huge buyer like Medicare, if you can negotiate for prices, you can bring prices down," he said. "It's a very common-sense step."

AP: Hassan touts effort to lower prescription drug prices

New Hampshire Sen. Maggie Hassan says a bill to bring down prescription drug prices would bring much-needed relief to families and seniors.

Hassan, a Democrat who is part of a group of senators sponsoring the bill, spoke about the proposal Friday in Nashua.

She says it would increase transparency and accountability by requiring drug manufacturers to disclose revenue and sales data, as well as costs for research and development, manufacturing and marketing.

The bill also would allow Medicare to negotiate the price of prescription drugs and would allow for the re-importation of prescription drugs from Canada.

NHPR: In Nashua, Hassan Touts Bill to Reign in Prescription Drug Costs

U.S. Senator Maggie Hassan was in Nashua Friday highlighting her new proposal to lower the cost of prescription drugs.

Under the measure, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services would be required to monitor pricing spikes to ensure drug costs aren't rising unfairly.

The bill would allow the department to negotiate prices for Medicare prescription drugs. It would also cap the amount of money patients and families can pay on prescription drugs annually out of pocket.

..."No one should be forced to decide between putting food on the table and filling a prescription that could improve or even save his or her life," Hassan said at Friday's press conference.

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