H.R. 1046, The Medicare Negotiation and Competitive Licensing Act, would finally allow Medicare to negotiate drug prices, harnessing the government’s purchasing power and restraining pharmaceutical companies’ monopoly pricing. It was introduced in the 116th Congress by Rep. Lloyd Doggett (TX) with 120 cosponsors, including Oregon’s Rep. Peter DeFazio, Rep. Earl Blumenauer, and Rep. Suzanne Bonamici.
Americans pay the highest price in the world for prescription drugs - over 40% more than Canada and often three times that of many European countries. In 2015, the five largest drug corporations made more than $50 billion in profits. At the same time, 35 million people, nearly 20% of the U.S. population, did not fill a prescription because they could not afford it.
Each year, out-of-pocket health care costs eat up more than half of every annual Social Security benefit. Even with critical programs such as Medicare and Social Security, many seniors cannot afford the skyrocketing price of their medications.
If a drug company refuses to negotiate to the degree requested, their patent can be violated and the government can produce the drug itself. The amount the company would be reimbursed for the use of its patent would take into account the money already used to subsidize the production of the medication.
More information and the full text of the bill is available here.