October 4, 2019
Press Release
‘Lower Drug Costs Now Act’ provides relief for seniors and low-income Americans who struggle to afford the skyrocketing cost of life-saving medication

(Rochester, NY) – Today, Congressman Joe Morelle announced legislation to address and reverse the skyrocketing cost of prescription drug costs in America. The Lower Drug Costs Now Act (H.R. 3), which Rep. Morelle co-sponsors, would help ensure life-saving medication is accessible and affordable for all people, especially seniors and those with low or fixed incomes.

“The exorbitant cost of prescription drugs in America shows how profoundly out of touch our healthcare system truly is,” said Rep. Joe Morelle. “These inflated costs place a significant and dangerous burden on families, especially older Americans who rely on Medicare. I’m proud to co-sponsor this critical legislation and take action to rein in costs and make healthcare more affordable for everyday Americans.”

"Every day older adults contact us seeking help to pay for prescription drugs. Every day, we see older adults making the heartbreaking decision to eat or fill their medications,” said Ann Marie Cook, President/CEO of Lifespan of Greater Rochester. “Every day we talk to people who cut their pills in half to make them go further. It is impossible for people on fixed incomes to absorb the ever-increasing cost of prescription drugs. I sincerely applaud Congressman Morelle for sponsoring The Lower Drug Costs Now Act (H.R. 3) which will help older adults gain access to affordable medications so they can live without fear of financial ruin due to rising health care costs.”   

Prescription drug companies are charging Americans prices that are three, four, or even ten times higher than what they charge for the same drugs in other countries – even though they admit they still make a profit at lower costs. In June, Rep. Morelle highlighted a report from the House Committee on Oversight and Reform which found that the cost of diabetes medication in the 25th Congressional District is up to 21 times higher than the cost of the same drugs in Australia, averaging over $450 per month.

Older adults are particularly affected by high prescription drug costs, as Medicare Part D enrollees take an average of four to five prescriptions per month and over two-thirds have two or more concurrent chronic illnesses. The Lower Drug Costs Now Act takes action to end this inequity and make healthcare more affordable.

Specifically, the legislation:

  • Ends the ban on Medicare negotiating directly with the drug companies and creates powerful new tools to force drug companies to the table to agree to real price reductions, while ensuring seniors never lose access to the prescriptions they need.
  • Makes the lower drug prices negotiated by Medicare available to all Americans, including those with private insurance, not just Medicare beneficiaries.
  • Stops drug companies that are ripping off Americans while charging other countries less for the same drugs by establishing a maximum price for any negotiated drug with an international price index.
  • Creates a new, $2,000 out-of-pocket limit on prescription drug costs for Medicare beneficiaries, and reverses years of unfair price hikes above inflation across thousands of drugs in Medicare.
  • Reinvests in innovation and the search for new cures and treatments, putting the savings from lowering inflated drug prices towards research at National Institutes of Health.

“No American should have to ration or stop taking lifesaving medication because they cannot afford its rising and grossly inflated cost,” continued Rep. Morelle. “That’s why Congress is taking much-needed action to address this and ensure we prioritize people over profits. I will continue to support and advance policies that help make healthcare more affordable for individuals and families in our community and across the nation.”