WASHINGTON, D.C. — Today, Representative Greg Walden (R-Hood River) released a video statement after he introduced the Lower Costs, More Cures Act of 2019, which consists of bipartisan provisions that would lower the cost of prescription drugs for Americans. The bill would lower out of pocket spending, protect access to new cures and medications, strengthen transparency, and encourage competition. Unlike other proposed bills to lower drug prices, Walden’s bill would do so without limiting the development of new cures.
“Our legislation will make sure that Americans can see reductions in the cost of their pharmaceutical drugs and that we won’t get in the way of new innovations to save peoples’ lives. Cures for Alzheimer’s or pancreatic cancer or rheumatoid arthritis — those sorts of things — need to move forward and we don’t need Congress getting in the way of that, we need to incentivize innovation, we need to come up with more cures, but we also need to tackle the bad behavior by the pharmaceutical companies when they stop generics from coming to the market and block access to some of these newer drugs that would bring down the cost,” said Walden. “This legislation deals with all of that, lowers cost and gets us more cures as well. So I think it is a good package of bipartisan proposals that could become law. I have talked with the President about it and I think he would sign our bill into law. It takes advantage of a lot of the proposals that there is a bipartisan bill the Senate is considering. I think that this could become law and we could get help to consumers by the end of the year, we just need an opportunity to move it forward.”
Walden’s bill would achieve lower drug prices without imposing government price controls that would drastically decrease research and development spending for new cures. Currently, in other countries where there are government-imposed price controls, there is significantly less access to new and necessary medications. For example, of the 270 new medicines available in the United States, in Canada, only 52 percent of those are available.
Tori Lacey from Ontario, Canada has to deal with the consequences of Canada’s government-imposed price controls every day. She is a 21-year-old with Spinal Muscular Atrophy (SMA) Type 2, a disease that attacks motor nerve cells, robbing people of physical strength and stripping them of the ability to walk, eat, and breathe. In Canada, Tori is unable to access a new treatment called Spinraza because it is not covered for patients with Type 2 SMA. Spinraza is the first drug approved to treat SMA and is a lifeline for those who suffer from this debilitating disease. Canada’s stringent regulations on new medications are keeping her from focusing on things that most 21-year-olds focus on, like school and work. Tori is just one example of the need to pass legislation that lowers drug prices and avoids government overregulation that can eliminate cures.
Recent data shows that 70 percent of Americans want Congress to address the high cost of prescription drugs, which is exactly what the Lower Costs, More Cures Act of 2019 does. In addition to lowering costs and providing more cures, Walden’s bill would allow seniors to better manage their annual out-of-pocket spending and make insulin more affordable.