As Drug Companies Increase Prices In New Year, Slotkin Calls on Senate to Vote on House-Passed Bills to Lower Costs

January 17, 2020
Press Release
Major Outlets Report Hundreds of Drugs Have Already Increased by an Average 5% In the New Year

WASHINGTON –– U.S. Rep. Elissa Slotkin (MI-08) called for action in the Senate to take up her Real-Time Benefits Act, a bipartisan bill to increase transparency in drug pricing and lower out-of-pocket costs, and the Lower Drug Costs Now Act (H.R. 3), as reports from major outlets show drug companies have already raised the price of hundreds of drugs in the new year, by an average of 5%.

Slotkin’s Real-Time Benefits Act, which passed the House in October 2019 with unanimous, bipartisan support, has been incorporated into a bipartisan Senate drug pricing package. The Real Time Benefits Act would help lower out-of-pocket costs for prescription drugs by giving patients and doctors real-time updates on the price of prescription drugs, before they leave the doctor’s office. By increasing price transparency, the bill also encourages competition to help bring drug costs down across the board. 

“It's the beginning of a new year, which means that big pharmaceutical companies have hiked up the price of hundreds of drugs — this year by an average of 5%,” Slotkin said. “Over the years, this has raised drug prices to the point where Michiganders sometimes pay more for their medication than their mortgage — and that’s got to stop.”

“Just last month, the House passed the Lower Drug Costs Now Act, which would allow the government to negotiate for lower drug prices,” Slotkin continued. “And my bipartisan bill, the Real Time Benefits Act, which would increase transparency and lower out-of-pocket costs, passed the House last year with unanimous, bipartisan support.”

“I'm thrilled that my Real-Time Benefits bill was incorporated into the Senate prescription drug package — and I call on the Senate to take the up or down vote we owe constituents demanding action to lower drug costs,” Slotkin added.

With Slotkin’s support, the House also passed the Lower Drug Costs Now Act (H.R. 3) last month, a bill that included Slotkin’s Medicare Vision Act, which would include vision coverage in Medicare. The landmark prescription drug legislation would give Medicare the power to negotiate directly with the drug companies to bring down prices, bringing down drug prices for all Americans; and ensure that Americans will never pay more than the average of what a drug costs in other countries on negotiated drugs. The bill would save taxpayers approximately $500 billion over the next ten years and reinvest that savings into combatting the addiction crisis, and researching and developing new cures and treatments.

Lowering prescription drug prices has been a top priority of Slotkin’s since taking office. Slotkin founded constituent-led district advisory boards made up of seniors, patients, doctors, nurses, and healthcare experts to help inform legislation that best addresses 8th district residents’ concerns, and has undertaken a district-wide “Costs of Care” tour to understand how the costs of prescription drugs and healthcare are affecting 8th district residents.