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Rep. Porter Introduces Legislation to Crack Down on Pharmaceutical Price Spikes

Congresswoman’s bill would prevent drug manufacturers from profiting off unreasonable price hikes

Congresswoman Katie Porter (CA-45) today introduced legislation that would protect patients from unnecessary price spikes. The Freedom from Price Gouging Act recovers taxpayer dollars from pharmaceutical companies when they try to hike their drug prices to increase their profits.

“It’s time to hold Big Pharma accountable for jacking up drug prices to line their own pockets,” Congresswoman Porter said. “Year after year, patients in Orange County are seeing drug prices skyrocket with no end in sight. I’m proud to introduce legislation that will crack down on pharmaceutical companies that try to cheat families.”

Porter’s legislation requires drug manufacturers to pay the government back when they increase their prices of drugs 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.

Porter was joined by Reps. Lauren Underwood (IL-14), Jason Crow (CO-6), and Earl Blumenauer (OR-3) in introducing this bill. The legislation is supported by Families USA, National Committee to Preserve Social Security and Medicare, The California Medical Association, and the Alliance for Retired Americans.

“Our nation is facing a drug affordability crisis, and while drug companies continue to profit from unfair price hikes, hardworking families are faced with impossible choices just to afford the life-saving medications they depend on,” said Congresswoman Underwood. “I’m proud to introduce this legislation with Representatives Porter, Crow, and Blumenauer to ensure people can afford the prescriptions they need.”

“Drug prices in this country continue to rise and hurt Colorado families and seniors. It’s time we stood up to Big Pharma and put our constituents first. This commonsense legislation will stop price gauging and help ensure all Coloradans get access to affordable health care," said Congressman Crow.

“So many of my constituents are struggling to afford medication they need to live. It’s shameful.” said Congressman Blumenauer. “This bill will ensure drug manufacturers will face consequences if they continue to price gouge lifesaving and sustaining medications.”

Similar bipartisan legislation introduced in the Senate cleared a key committee hurdle with broad support. The Congressional Budget Office estimated that the Senate’s rebate policy would save taxpayers $10.7 billion over the next 10 years.

Congresswoman Porter has made increasing access to affordable, high-quality healthcare a top priority. Earlier this year, she held a roundtable in Orange County on Type 1 Diabetes with leading medical experts, local advocates, and children and families living with Type 1 Diabetes. She also condemned the Trump Administration’s legal campaign to eliminate all of the healthcare protections provided by the Affordable Care Act, including protections for Americans with pre-existing conditions. In February, she joined Rep. Lloyd Doggett as a lead co-sponsor of legislation that would allow the Medicare program to negotiate for lower prescription drug prices.