WASHINGTON D.C. – A coalition of big pharma connected groups and far-right think tanks have issued a letter demanding Congress repeal the Inflation Reduction Act’s historic measures giving Medicare the power to negotiate lower prices directly with pharmaceutical manufacturers. The effort is led by Competitive Enterprise Institute which, as Accountable.US documented, has taken $35,000 from Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America (PhRMA) in 2021 alone and has been in the pocket of the drug industry for over a decade. A new Accountable.US review found that PhRMA—a drug industry trade group with a direct financial motive in keeping Americans paying more for prescription drugs than every other comparatively wealthy nation in the world—has contributed over $1 million in grants and donations to organizations that signed the coalition letter against the Inflation Reduction Act’s prescription drug mandate.
Backed by 3 in 4 Americans, the Biden law is already working to save seniors money by requiring drug makers to negotiate lower prices on 10 key drugs that cost 9 million Medicare beneficiaries a staggering $3.4 billion in out-of-pocket costs in 2022 alone, including treatments for cancer and heart disease. The latest attack on the Medicare negotiation measure follows meritless lawsuits trying to block it by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and big drug makers Bristol Myers Squibb, Johnson & Johnson and Merck.
Follow the money to see that the few opposed to the historic Biden law allowing Medicare to negotiate lower drug costs for seniors have a selfish interest in keeping prices high. For decades, big drug companies have spent millions in courtrooms and Congress to block any and every effort to lower prescription drug costs – even as they made record profits and handed payouts to wealthy investors while Americans paid more than patients in any other wealthy country.
Big Pharma and their lackeys in Congress are now fighting tooth and nail to undo this law so industry can keep squeezing maximum profits out of struggling seniors, even cancer and diabetes patients choosing between food and medicine,” added Zelnick. “Outside of Big Pharma-aligned special interests, Congress has no public support for letting drug companies go back to price gouging Medicare recipients on life-saving medicine.”
Accountable.US’ Liz Zelnick
A recent review from Accountable.US found that the five largest U.S. pharmaceutical companies by market cap saw profits rise steadily from FY 2021 to FY 2022, as price increases and acquisitions of competing firms generously led to shareholder handouts at the expense of Americans struggling to afford life-saving drugs. These companies reported combined earnings of $81.9 billion, an over $8.8 billion increase from 2021, while combined stock buybacks and dividends increased by $4.4 billion and $2.5 billion respectively.
The Competitive Enterprise Institute-led letter against Medicare negotiation dusts off the same old bogus right-wing scare tactics about ‘socialized medicine’ made by conservatives decades ago when they opposed the very creation of Medicare, which today is among the most popular government success stories.