Stabenow Announces New Legislation to Crack Down on Prescription Drug Costs and Increase Drug Price Transparency

Monday, August 14, 2017

U.S. Senator Debbie Stabenow (D-MI) today announced two new bills she is sponsoring to crack down on skyrocketing prescription drug prices.  The Empowering Medicare Seniors to Negotiate Drug Prices Act would allow Medicare to negotiate the best possible prices of prescription drugs to cut costs for nearly 41 million seniors enrolled in Medicare Part D.  Current law only allows for bargaining by pharmaceutical companies and bans Medicare from doing so.  The Stopping the Pharmaceutical Industry from Keeping Drugs Expensive (SPIKE) Act would increase transparency by requiring drug companies to publicly report large price hikes. 


“We need to do everything we can to crack down on the skyrocketing cost of prescription drugs,” said Senator Stabenow.  “Too many Michigan families and seniors are burdened by high costs that make it harder to get the care they need and pay their bills.” 


The Empowering Medicare Seniors to Negotiate Drug Prices Act, which was introduced by Senator Amy Klobuchar (D-MN) and cosponsored by Senator Stabenow, would allow the Secretary of Health and Human Services to directly negotiate with drug companies for price discounts for the Medicare Prescription Drug Program.  This bill eliminates the “non-interference” clause that expressly bans Medicare from negotiating the best possible prices.  By harnessing the bargaining power of nearly 41 million seniors, Medicare could negotiate bigger discounts than pharmaceutical companies. 


The SPIKE Act, which was introduced by Senator Ron Wyden (D-OR) and cosponsored by Senator Stabenow, would require drug manufacturers to publicly report increases in the price of their drugs beyond a certain threshold.  One of these thresholds addresses modestly priced drugs whose prices have increased unreasonably, targeting actors such as Turing Pharmaceuticals, which increased the price of Daraprim by 5,000%.  The other threshold addresses drug price increases that effect Medicare and Medicaid the most.