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Rep. Porter Spearheads Legislation to Crack Down on Big Pharma Price Hikes

Congresswoman’s bill would protect patients from unnecessary price hikes on prescription drugs

Congresswoman Katie Porter (CA-45) today reintroduced legislation to prevent drug manufacturers from profiting off unreasonable price hikes. The Freedom From Price Gouging Act, co-led by Congresswoman Lauren Underwood (IL-14), Congressman Jason Crow (CO-06), and Congressman Earl Blumenauer (OR-03),would recover taxpayer dollars from pharmaceutical companies that hike pharmaceutical prices to increase their profits.

“Big Pharma has a long history of jacking up drug prices to juice their profits, with little regard for how this devastates families,” said Congresswoman Porter. “As families struggle to pay for life-saving medication, pharmaceutical executives are taking home multi-million dollar compensation packages. We’re all suffering from this abuse, since taxpayers foot these astronomical bills through Medicare. My bill recovers these funds, helps patients, and reduces the costs of prescription drugs.”

“Our nation is facing a drug affordability crisis, and while drug companies continue to profit from unfair price hikes, hardworking Illinois families are faced with impossible choices just to afford the life-saving medications they depend on or are forced to go without the medication they need. It’s dangerous and unacceptable, especially as we continue to face the coronavirus pandemic,” said Congresswoman Underwood. “I’m proud join Representatives Porter, Crow, and Blumenauer to introduce the Freedom From Price Gouging Act, which help ensure more Americans can afford the prescriptions they depend on.”

“It’s wrong that Coloradans can’t afford to buy basic life-saving meds while big companies continue to make record profits.  More than one in 10 Coloradans reported skipping doses of needed prescriptions because they could not afford it,” said Congressman Crow. “The Freedom from Price Gouging Act stands up to Big Pharma, protecting patients from unnecessary price hikes and saving taxpayer money. My colleagues and I are reintroducing this common sense legislation to stop skyrocketing prescription drug costs and help Coloradans get the medications they need.”

“Too many of my constituents are struggling to afford the very medication they need to live. It’s shameful,” said Congressman Blumenauer. “Congress must put an end to Big Pharma’s price gouging days. Our bill will ensure that drug manufacturers face real consequences if they continue to price gouge lifesaving and sustaining medications.”

Porter’s Freedom From Price Gouging Act requires drug manufacturers to pay the government back when they increase drug prices covered under the Medicare Part B program. Part B provides insurance coverage for drugs that are often administered in outpatient settings, including chemotherapy drugs. For example, over 2017 and 2018, the price of Rituxan, a drug used to treat non-Hodgkin lymphoma, rose 17 percent—more than twice the rate of medical inflation—costing taxpayers more than $1.75 billion in 2017. The legislation passed the House of Representatives last year as part of H.R. 3, the Elijah E. Cummings Lower Drug Costs Now Act

Throughout her time in Congress, Congresswoman Porter has fought to reduce the costs of prescription drugs and bring accountability and change to our broken healthcare system, especially during the COVID-19 pandemic. In January, she released a comprehensive report diving into Big Pharma’s anticompetitive behavior and introduced the Medicare Economic Security Solutions Act to protect older Americans from surprise medical bills. In February, she reintroduced legislation that would shield patients with medical debtfrom long-term financial devastation. She has also fought against private-equity firms trying to cut provider pay, exposed fraudulent medical supply companies, and demanded answers about taxpayer dollars spent on new drugs. She secured a commitment from the former CDC Director that the Trump Administration would make coronavirus testing free for all Americans.