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Senator Hassan Continues Push to Lower Prescription Drug Prices Through Expanding Access to Generics

WASHINGTON – During a Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions Committee hearing, Senator Maggie Hassan continued her focus on lowering prescription drug prices for Granite Staters through expanding access to generic drugs.


You can watch Senator Hassan’s questioning here at 01:15:39.


“While Americans struggle to afford live-saving drugs, brand-name manufacturers continue to increase prices,” said Senator Hassan. “Generic competition can help drive down drug prices now.”


When asked about the effects of introducing new generic drugs, witness David Gaugh, Senior Vice President for Sciences and Regulatory Affairs at the Association for Accessible Medicines, agreed: “Significant savings is brought forth by the generics. If you look at the numbers over the last 10 years, we’ve saved $2 trillion, and $469 billion of that was in new generics that came to market.”


Senator Hassan also spoke about how brand-name manufacturers use different methods to manipulate the system to limit generic competition.


“There is a long history of brand-name manufacturers playing games with the law to delay and block the launch of generic drugs,” added Senator Hassan. “As a result, patients pay more at the pharmacy counter, with some rationing life-saving medications because they can’t afford them.”


Mr. Gaugh commented that one method that brand-name manufacturers use is patenting Risk Evaluation and Mitigation Strategies, or REMS programs, that the FDA requires for some medications with serious safety concerns.


On this issue, Senator Hassan stated that these brand-name manufacturers are “using the notion of patient safety to delay the development of additional drugs that could bring down the cost.”


Senator Hassan is working across the aisle to stand up to Big Pharma and lower health care costs for Granite Staters. Senator Hassan has pushed to allow Medicare to negotiate drug prices and also advanced bipartisan legislation in 2019 to lower prescription drugs costs by enacting a cap on out-of-pocket prescription drug costs for Medicare Part D beneficiaries and cracking down on pharmaceutical companies that raise drug prices higher than inflation. In addition, Senator Hassan led successful, bipartisan efforts with Senator Bill Cassidy (R-LA) to help end the practice of surprise medical billing, which is now in effect. Senators Hassan and Cassidy also successfully passed into law their bipartisan legislation to enhance education about biosimilar drug products in an effort to increase competition and lower drug costs.