WASHINGTON, DC — Today, Medicare sent its opening offers to manufacturers of the first ten medications selected for the Biden administration’s drug price negotiation program under the Inflation Reduction Act. This is the first time that Medicare has the power to reject prices set by pharmaceutical companies, a change that comes after companies raised prices on six of the ten affected drugs, and as 1-in-4 Americans cannot afford their prescribed medicines. Numerous drug manufacturers and industry trade groups have filed lawsuits seeking to block the effort expected to cut costs by 22.6% for nearly 19 million seniors and other Medicare Part D enrollees.
A previous report from Accountable.US found some of the major pharmaceutical companies that produce the affected, notoriously expensive drugs—including Merck, Eli Lilly, and Johnson & Johnson’s Janssen—reported combined earnings of $38.7 billion in 2022. Meanwhile, these companies’ combined stock buybacks and dividends increased by $1.9 billion and $1.5 billion, respectively.
Big drug company CEOs reporting billions in profit and earnings have shown their cards and revealed that their price-gouging is based on greed, not need. Too many seniors have been forced to choose between food and medicine -- or simply been priced out while their health suffers. While the industry files a flurry of lawsuits and spends millions lobbying to stop the Biden administration from lowering costs for millions, their massive profits only reaffirm why these reforms were much needed.”
Accountable.US’ Tony Carrk.
Pharmaceutical giant Merck today announced earnings that beat expectations, with quarterly revenue topping estimates. The boasting to investors from Merck executives comes as the company has faced sharp criticism for charging U.S. type-2 diabetes patients a whopping $6,900 for its diabetes treatment drug, Januvia, that patients can purchase in Canada for $900 or just $200 in France.
The Biden administration announced Januvia is one of the first 10 prescription drugs impacted by Medicare’s new power to negotiate lower prices with drug makers. Merck has filed a lawsuit against the administration seeking to block the law’s measures working to lower costs for Medicare beneficiaries. The company is also a member of PhRMA which filed a separate lawsuit seeking to undo the historic achievement.