Washington, D.C. – U.S. Senator Russ Feingold (D-WI) is introducing legislation today to help bring down the high cost of prescription drugs. Feingold’s Fair Pricing for Prescription Drug Act would authorize the safe importation of prescription drugs from other industrialized countries and require price negotiation for Medicare Part D purchases.
Under Feingold’s legislation, the United States could import FDA-approved drugs from Canada, Europe, New Zealand, Australia and Japan, which could save the federal government $19.4 billion over ten years, and save consumers at least $50 billion.
The legislation builds on reimportation legislation previously introduced by Senator Byron Dorgan (D-ND).
“For too long, the prescription drug market has favored big pharmaceutical companies, leaving Medicare beneficiaries and other consumers to foot the bill for outrageously high prescription drug prices,”
Feingold said. “The importation of prescription drugs would help Americans pay for to the safe FDA-approved medications they need. This legislation would lower the cost of prescription drugs for consumers, and help save taxpayer dollars at the same time – it’s a win-win.”
Feingold’s Fair Pricing for Prescription Drug Act would also authorize the Secretary of Health and Human Services to negotiate prescription drug prices on behalf of Medicare Part D beneficiaries, which has been prohibited since the program was created in 2003.
The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) negotiates prescription drug prices and generates significant savings through the negotiations. Feingold’s legislation would ensure Medicare Part D beneficiaries and taxpayers are also getting the best deal possible deal from drug price negotiations. Feingold’s legislation builds on legislation previously introduced by Senator Bill Nelson (D-FL) and Representative Peter Welch (D-VT).
“With more than $50 billion in tax dollars going toward funding Medicare Part D, it is completely irresponsible to continue this ban,” Feingold said. “There is absolutely no reason Medicare beneficiaries and taxpayers are not getting the best possible deal on their prescription drug prices.”
Senator Feingold is an original cosponsor of Senator Dorgan’s stand-alone bill to allow for drug importation (S. 1232).
Senator Feingold is also the sponsor of the Senate companion bill to H.R. 4752, introduced by Representative Welch, and a cosponsor of S. 266, introduced by Senator Nelson, that authorize the negotiation of prescription drug prices for Medicare beneficiaries.