The New York Times reports that the GOP-controlled Senate “remains stalled” on the critical issue of lowering prescription drug prices, as “Senate Republicans have shied away from acting” on the issue — even amid an ongoing global pandemic. Senate Republicans’ refusal to act on prescription drug reform comes as a new analysis today finds the coronavirus pandemic hasn’t stopped pharmaceutical companies from increasing prices for hundreds of drugs.
Majority Leader Mitch McConnell “appears to be in no mood to tackle the issue.” The House passed a bold reform bill that would slash the cost of prescription drugs last year, but it is languishing in the Senate because McConnell “has flatly refused to consider it.” Vulnerable Republicans facing re-election have declined to criticize McConnell’s inaction on prescription drug costs.
Over the past five months, pharmaceutical companies raised the price of 245 different drugs with an average price increase of nearly 24%, and more than 60 of the drugs that saw price hikes “were being used to treat the coronavirus.” The analysis from Patients for Affordable Drugs found that some of the price increases were because of “opportunistic hikes in the face of steep increases in demand.”
“Mitch McConnell is obstructing prescription drug reform, and GOP senators are enabling him because they’d rather protect their special interest allies and corporate donors in Washington than help hardworking families in their states struggling to afford medication in a pandemic,” said DSCC spokesperson Stewart Boss. “The House passed a commonsense plan to rein in out-of-control costs on life-saving prescription drugs with bipartisan support, but Senate Republicans are intent on watering down those reforms or blocking action altogether.”
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