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New proposed legislation would lower prescription drug prices

U.S. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand says drug manufacturers continue to increase the price of their drugs despite one in four Americans unable to afford them.

NIAGARA FALLS, N.Y. — U.S. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand is calling for passage of a package of three bills that would reduce the cost of prescription drugs. She announced the package of bills in Niagara Falls on Monday.

The bills would also ensure everyone can access the medicine they need.

Gillibrand says over the years, prescription drug costs have become increasingly unaffordable, particularly for older Americans who account for one in four Niagara County residents, who rely on Medicare yet still struggle to afford medications on fixed incomes. She said drug manufacturers continue to increase the price of their drugs despite one in four Americans unable to afford their medications.

“As New Yorkers face growing health challenges and economic hardship in the wake of the pandemic, they are being forced to make decisions between picking up their drugs and buying groceries or keeping the lights on. It is unacceptable that many people have had to skip or ration the medications they need to stay healthy, while the largest pharmaceutical companies in the country are making tens of billions of dollars in profits,” said Senator Gillibrand. “As a member of the Aging Committee, reducing prescription drug prices for our seniors is one of my top priorities. Congress must take immediate action to ensure Americans can afford the medications they need and I will be fighting alongside my colleagues to get these provisions passed.”

The package of legislation includes:

  • The Prescription Drug Price Relief Act. The bill would level the market for Americans purchasing prescription drugs by pegging the price in the United States to the median price in Canada, the United Kingdom, France, Germany and Japan;
  • The Medicare Drug Price Negotiation Act. The bill would direct the Secretary of Health and Human Services to negotiate lower prices for prescription drugs under Medicare Part D.
  • The Affordable and Safe Prescription Drug Importation Act. The bill would allow patients, pharmacists and wholesalers to import safe, affordable medicine from Canada and other major countries.

Senator Gillibrand's call comes as Senate and House Democrats ramp up pressure to pass legislation to make health care and prescription drugs more affordable for Americans as the economy recovers.