Slotkin Introduces Bill to Stop Drug Companies’ Unfair Price Hikes, Address Rising Rx Costs in America
WASHINGTON — As Michigan residents struggle with ever-increasing healthcare costs, U.S. Rep. Elissa Slotkin (MI-08) introduced a bill Wednesday to help address unfair price hikes for prescription drugs. The legislation imposes penalties on pharmaceutical companies who harm consumers with sudden, exorbitant price increases and promotes competition among manufacturers to lower drug prices.
Congressman Jared Golden (ME-02) drafted the bill, the Forcing Limits on Abusive and Tumultuous (FLAT) Prices Act, with Representatives Slotkin, Sean Casten (IL-06), Gil Cisneros (CA-39), Max Rose (NY-11), and Chellie Pingree (ME-01) cosponsoring. Senator Dick Durbin (D-IL), a long-time leader on fair drug pricing, introduced companion legislation in the Senate.
“Abusive drug-pricing practices can financially cripple families and even put life-saving drugs out of people’s reach,” said Congresswoman Slotkin. “That is flat-out wrong. I regularly hear from the people who live in my Michigan district about the impact high drug prices have on them, their parents and their children. We have to stop companies from taking unfair advantage of them, and this bill will help do just that.”
Healthcare data show that rising prescription drug costs are one of the biggest driver of overall healthcare costs across the country. The FLAT Prices Act legislation targets the sort of corporate abuse made famous by Mylan’s over 400 percent increase on EpiPens and Turing Pharmaceuticals’ 5,000 percent increase on anti-parasitic drug Daraprim. Among other provisions, the FLAT Prices Act:
- Defines a price spike as an increase of more than 10 percent within one year, 18 percent within two years, or 25 percent within three years;
- Discourages pharmaceutical companies from spiking prices to dramatically increase profits and speeds access for generic manufacturers of prescription drugs. The bill shortens monopoly periods for drugs subject to significant price spikes. Under current law, pharmaceutical companies are awarded multi-year monopoly periods for new drugs, during which time cheaper, generic alternatives are excluded from the market; and
- Requires drug companies to report price spikes to the Department of Health and Human Services. Failure to report price spikes further shortens monopoly periods.