WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Maggie Hassan raised questions about how taxpayers are subsidizing drug companies that continue to raise prices, padding their profits at the expense of consumers, during a Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP) subcommittee hearing on ways to reduce the skyrocketing costs of prescription drugs.
To watch the Senator’s questioning, click here.
“Drug companies receive taxpayer support at just about every step of their business model, from the time a drug is developed to the time a pharmacy dispenses it to a patient,” Senator Hassan said. “We are the only country that subsidizes these companies the way we do, yet according to a recent RAND study, we are paying up to 250 percent more for prescription drugs than countries with similar GDP.”
Senator Hassan provided examples of ways that drug companies take advantage of tax and Medicare loopholes to increase their profits – for instance getting tax deductions for cash payments and free meals they provide to people who prescribe more expensive drugs.
Senator Hassan is working across the aisle to expand access to affordable health care and lower the skyrocketing cost of prescription drugs. Earlier this month, the Senate passed bipartisan legislation that Senators Hassan and Bill Cassidy (R-LA) introduced to enhance education about biosimilar drug products in an effort to increase competition and lower the cost of biologic medicines. Additionally, the Senators successfully secured a measure in the year-end package to help end the practice of surprise medical billing. This week, Senator Hassan also joined her colleagues in introducing legislation that will allow Medicare to negotiate the best possible price for prescription drugs to help lower health care costs for older Americans. Furthermore, in 2019, President Trump signed into law bipartisan legislation introduced by Senators Hassan and Cassidy to close a loophole in the Medicaid rebate program that results in big pharmaceutical companies overcharging taxpayers. The bipartisan legislation will save taxpayers approximately $3.1 billion over the next 10 years.