AUSTIN— Today the Texas Public Policy Foundation’s Director of Right on Health Care David Balat offered the following statement about the proposed drug pricing bill – H.R. 3:

“The high costs of medication in this country are at a critical point for American families. Inflation-adjusted per capita spending on retail prescription drugs between 2013 and 2016 grew exponentially according to the Kaiser Family Foundation data. Research conducted by CVS has shown that 20% of Medicare patient are readmitted to the hospital within 30 days and half of them are considered to be due to non-adherence. The Administration released its blueprint to lower drug prices and reduce out-of-pocket costs entitled “American Patients First” in May of 2018 and have achieved few successes due to heavy opposition from pharmacy benefit managers and insurers.

“Last week, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi introduced a sweeping proposal that would redesign the drug reimbursement system for all payers – including private companies – and would fundamentally interrupt innovation. The so-called ‘Lower Drug Costs Now Act’ (H.R. 3) focuses its ire at the pharmaceutical manufacturers with no regard for the middlemen within the supply chain that have influenced the significant increases in list prices. The Bill speaks to negotiation and the use of an international pricing index by HHS but the government does not negotiate, it mandates. Price fixing and pricing caps have done more to inflate costs in healthcare than to help patients achieve more affordability. Direct pharmacy or direct dispensing by physicians in the preponderance of states throughout the nation have resulted in low-cost medications that are affordable and typically less than a copay.

“Texas Public Policy Foundation is opposed to H.R. 3 and any attempt to tie pricing to an international index. Our lawmakers must take a stand on ending legalized middleman kickbacks that have been endorsed by Congress as an exception from the anti-kickback statute.”