Ohio Sen. Brown outlines steps to make prescription drugs affordable

WASHINGTON, D.C. – With Ohioans struggling to afford the cost of prescription drugs, U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-OH) will outline specific steps Congress should take to bring down drug costs.

Prescription Drug Prices are said to be too high, according to the Kaiser Family Foundation. Residents want congress to work to lower the costs of drugs.

According to a statement from Sen. Brown, instead of focusing on broadly supported efforts to reduce prescription drug prices, Congress moved this week to kick hundreds of thousands of Ohioans off of their health insurance with no plan to replace it.

“Throwing 30 million Americans and more than 800,000 Ohioans off of their health insurance with no plan to replace it is reckless and dangerous. It will cause premiums to skyrocket and costs to go up for hard-working families, while handing a $30 billion tax break to drug companies,” Brown said. “Instead of kicking people off of their health insurance with no plan in place and handing billions to big drug companies, let’s make our first priority lowering drug costs for the people we serve.”

During Brown’s weekly news conference call, Brown called on Congress to focus on passing solutions to lower drug costs instead of taking healthcare away from working families. In December, Brown led a group of 19 of his colleagues in a letter to President-elect Donald Trump, which outlined five concrete steps Trump can take to work with Congress to bring down the cost of prescription drugs:

  • Allowing the Secretary of Health and Human Services (HHS) to negotiate better prices for Medicare recipients.
  • Requiring drug companies to disclose costs associated with creating drugs so prices are more transparent.
  • Putting an end to abusive price gouging.
  • Increasing innovation so more safe and effective drugs are available.
  • Ensuring competition by encouraging entrance of generics into the marketplace.
  • Full text of Brown’s letter to Trump is available here.

Last Congress, Brown helped introduce several bills aimed at tackling the high cost of prescription drugs and those efforts will be the basis of new legislation to be introduced this year.

Brown was joined on the call by Akron resident Kathy Giller who discussed how the high cost of prescription drugs has impacted her family. Giller’s husband, Lee, is battling Stage IV breast cancer. Prior to the Affordable Care Act, Lee was denied coverage for a pre-existing condition. Kathy’s family has benefitted greatly from the health law, but continues to face high prescription drug costs.

“Facing a serious health condition is hard enough without having to worry if medical care will be available and affordable,” said Giller. “Having good doctors and medical facilities is essential, but if the treatments that are prescribed are too expensive, the quality of care is compromised.”