Collins, Problem Solvers Caucus offer bipartisan principles to lower drug prices

U.S. Sen. Susan Collins (R-ME) and members of the bipartisan Problem Solvers Caucus are on a mission to lower prescription drug prices in the United States and last week offered guiding principles as a framework for related legislation.

“I look forward to working with our partners in the House to pass legislation to help Americans facing exorbitant costs for the medications they need, particularly seniors, 90 percent of whom take a prescription drug,” Sen. Collins said.

Sen. Collins and caucus members announced principles to support legislation that would address the nation’s rising prescription drug prices while strengthening access to healthcare, increasing price transparency, and growing marketplace competition.

As chairwoman of the U.S. Senate Special Committee on Aging, the senator added that one of her priorities remains fighting this problem.

“Since 2015, I have held eight hearings on drug pricing and have heard heartbreaking stories from those who have struggled to afford their medications, including a father from New Gloucester, Maine, who saw the cost of his son’s insulin triple overnight,” she said during a Problem Solvers Caucus press conference held on June 27.  

“Congress is making progress on this issue,” said Sen. Collins, “but much more remains to be done.”  

Hence, the caucus released the principles to support ongoing related legislative efforts addressing this problem, she added. They state that caucus members support: Access to medications for patients through more transparency, competition and affordability in the U.S. prescription drug market; price transparency standards; requiring drug manufacturers to disclose the price of treatment for advertised drugs and to explain those prices; having pharmacy benefit managers disclose the discounts they receive from drug manufacturers that impact the cost of medications for patients; competition among drug manufacturers that ensures continued R&D, makes drugs more affordable, and increases access for patients who need them; and enforcement mechanisms for drug manufacturers that do not comply with transparency standards or that engage in anti-competitive behavior.