Dec 20 2019

Measure would lower prescription drug prices while encouraging new cures and treatments for patients 

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Yesterday, Senator Thom Tillis (R-NC) co-introduced legislation with Senators Mike Crapo (R-ID), Mike Enzi (R-WY), Richard Burr (R-NC), John Barrasso (R-WY), and Jim Risch (R-ID) to lower prescription drug prices, bring greater transparency to the prescription drug industry and encourage American ingenuity in the development of new treatments and cures.  

“I’ve been fighting to make sure that North Carolinians have affordable health care with the choices they want and the protections they deserve, which includes having access to prescription drugs they can afford,” Senator Tillis said.  “The Lower Costs, More Cures Act is a commonsense solution that will bring down prescription drug costs for North Carolinians while also ensuring that America continues to be the global leader in innovation and producing life-saving treatments and cures.”

The Lower Costs, More Cures Act, among other things, would:

  • Modernize payments for drugs delivered in the doctor’s office under Medicare Part B;
  • Incentivize lower-cost alternatives, or biosimilars;
  • Establish an annual out-of-pocket cap of $3,100 for Medicare Part D enrollees and allow certain patients to pay in monthly installments;
  • Place an out-of-pocket cap of $50 on insulin and insulin medical supplies;
  • Decrease beneficiary cost sharing from 25 percent to 15 percent of costs before out-of-pocket cap is reached;
  • Allow prescription drug plan sponsors to offer, at minimum, up to four Part D plans per region, spurring competition and innovation;
  • Prevent the upcoming spike in payment for Medicare Part D beneficiaries that reach their annual maximum payment amount;
  • Provide greater flexibility for individuals to use Health Savings Accounts to purchase over-the-counter drugs;
  • Makes permanent the 7.5 percent adjusted gross income for the purposes of the medical expense deduction in the tax filing season;
  • Create a trade negotiator solely dedicated to putting American patients first in government trade negotiations related to medicines in order to prevent foreign free-loading off America’s investment; and
  • Require drug manufacturers to provide pricing information on all direct-to-consumer advertising.

Representative Greg Walden (R-Oregon) introduced similar legislation in the House of Representatives. That bill received bipartisan support when considered by the House of Representatives, and the Administration has called it “a far better approach to lowering drug prices and discovering life-saving cures” than the Elijah E. Cummings Lower Drug Costs Now Act.  

Full text of the Senate bill can be found HERE, a section-by-section HERE, and a two-page summary HERE.