Taxpayers across the country could save $30 billion in prescription drug costs if the federal government were able to negotiate with drug companies over Medicare drug prices, the Campaign for Americas Future concluded in a report released today.
When so many Americans struggle to pay for the prescription drugs they need, it doesnt make sense to prohibit the federal government from negotiating the lowest possible drug prices on behalf of the 44 million seniors and people with disabilities who rely on Medicare, said Sen. Debbie Stabenow (D-Mich.), who joined the campaigns co-director and report co-author Roger Hickey on a conference call.
House Democrats have already passed legislation to remove a provision in the Medicare Modernization Act of 2003 that prohibits the government from negotiating lower prescription costs with drugmakers, a move that is strongly supported by the senior citizens advocacy group AARP, which also took part in lobbying efforts on the issue today. Senate leaders want to push for a vote on the same measure following the congressional recess.
Campaign for Americas Future, a coalition of citizen activists and policy experts, have joined other groups on a campaign to get the Senate to act.
In a written statement, Ken Johnson, senior vice president of the Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America responded that AARPs misguided efforts to alter the Medicare prescription-drug benefit continue despite overwhelming evidence that the program is working for seniors and taxpayers alike. Government negotiation would not likely result in lower drug prices for Americas seniors, he said, citing the Congressional Budget Office finding that such interference would have a negligible effect on federal spending and that the government would probably not be able to negotiate lower costs than private-sector purchasers. -- by Jennifer Lubell