Senator Stabenow Introduces Legislation to Lower Cost of Prescription Drugs

Friday, January 11, 2019

U.S. Senator Debbie Stabenow (D-MI), ranking member on the Senate Finance Subcommittee on Health Care, introduced legislation aimed at lowering the cost of prescription drugs. Americans pay – by far – the highest prices in the world for prescription drugs. Already this year, prices on more than 1,000 medications have experienced an average price hike of six percent.


“It’s absurd that our own government is prohibited from negotiating lower prescription drug prices for seniors under Medicare and that people across our own Michigan border in Canada pay so much less for their prescriptions,” said Senator Stabenow.  “My bills will help put an end to these outrageous practices and Big Pharma’s price gouging of American families.


Pharmaceutial and health product lobbying reached $216 million last year, more than any other industry. Stabenow is introducing two pieces of legislation that will combat rising prescription drug costs:


  • The Empowering Medicare Seniors to Negotiate Drug Prices Act would allow the Secretary of Health and Human Services to directly negotiate with drug companies for price discounts of their drugs, which is banned under current law.


  • And the Affordable and Safe Prescription Drug Importation Act authorizes the Secretary of Health and Human Services to issue regulations permitting wholesalers, licensed U.S. pharmacies, and individuals to import safe medications from licensed Canadian sellers that are manufactured at facilities inspected by the Food and Drug Administration. Currently, Americans pay about 40 percent more on prescriptions per person than Canadians do.


This follows Senator Stabenow’s successful effort last year to get her bipartisan Know the Lowest Price Act passed into law - cracking down on outrageous gag clauses that stop pharmacists from telling customers that they could pay less for their prescription if they pay out of pocket.