LOS ANGELES--(BUSINESS WIRE)--On the heels of recent and remarkably steep price hikes on two lifesaving drugs to treat toxoplasmosis and tuberculosis—both of which were abruptly rescinded after a swift and vehement public and political outcry over price gouging—AIDS Healthcare Foundation (AHF) announced its support for legislation authored by Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) and Rep. Elijah Cummings (D-MD) that would allow the federal government to directly negotiate drug prices under Medicare Part D, enable consumers to import cheaper drugs from Canada and require increased drug manufacturer transparency into research and development costs, profits and sale information for treatments sold in other countries. The Prescription Drug Affordability Act of 2015, introduced jointly in the U.S. House and Senate yesterday, comes on the heels of a Kaiser Family Foundation poll released in August that found most Americans feel that drug costs are unreasonable (72 percent) and that drug companies put profits before people (74 percent).
“While we’ve been fighting against pharma’s greed for decades, the skyrocketing prices of today’s prescription drugs—and the even more astronomical yearly profits raked in by big drug companies—have become so obscene that it is simply no longer possible to ignore how pharma has gamed the political and health care payer systems so that everybody loses except the drug companies’ bottom line,” said AHF President Michael Weinstein. “AHF fully endorses The Prescription Drug Affordability Act and we commend Sen. Sanders and Rep. Cummings for their leadership in authoring this bill. For too long, Senator Sanders and a very few others like Representative Cummings have been lone voices crying in the wilderness about the threats to public health and patients’ lives posed by skyrocketing prescription drug prices. We urge all candidates for all federal offices to take drug price escalation seriously.”
In August, AHF announced that advocates affiliated with the organization collected enough signatures of registered California voters to qualify the California Drug Price Relief Act for a statewide vote. The initiative would revise California law to require state programs to pay no more for prescription medications than the prices negotiated by the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (notwithstanding any other provision of law and insofar as permissible under federal law). Advocates from AHF and ‘Ohioans for Fair Drug Prices’ are also currently collecting voter signatures in Ohio for a similar ballot initiative, The Ohio Drug Price Relief Act, to combat drug prices. Both the California and Ohio measures are expected to qualify for, and appear on, the November 2016 presidential election ballot.
AIDS Healthcare Foundation (AHF), the largest global AIDS organization, currently provides medical care and/or services to over 488,000 individuals in 36 countries worldwide in the US, Africa, Latin America/Caribbean, the Asia/Pacific Region and Eastern Europe. To learn more about AHF, please visit our website: www.aidshealth.org, find us on Facebook: www.facebook.com/aidshealth and follow us on Twitter: @aidshealthcare and Instagram: @aidshealthcare