H.R. 1046: Act Now to Bring Drug Prices Down

Prescription drug prices are substantially higher in the United States than in other high-income countries, and as a result Americans spend more on prescription drugs than residents of other countries. Despite this, the government is not allowed to use its position as the largest purchaser of prescription drugs in the country (through Medicare Part D) to bargain for lower prices for patients. House Democrats have pledged to work on lowering prescription drug prices now that they are in the majority, including by allowing Medicare to negotiate prices, but it isn’t yet clear which bill they will bring to the floor to accomplish this.

Rep. Lloyd Doggett (D-TX) has introduced the Medicare Negotiation and Competitive Licensing Act (H.R. 1046) to give Medicare the power it needs to effectively negotiate with drug companies and bring drug prices down. Call your Representative (MoC) and tell them: co-sponsor H.R. 1046, the Medicare Negotiation and Competitive Licensing Act!

In this resource, we’ll tell you more about how H.R. 1046 will bring drug prices down, and provide you with the tools you need to tell your MoC to become a co-sponsor.

Call your MoC: Co-sponsor H.R. 1046

Call your Member of Congress and tell them to co-sponsor H.R. 1046, the Medicare Negotiation and Competitive Licensing Act! Give Medicare the power it needs to effectively negotiate with drug companies and bring drug prices down!

Get The Call Script!

What would the bill do?

Almost 9 in 10 Americans support making it easier for generic drugs to come to market, and a similar number support allowing the government to negotiate with drug companies to get a lower prescription drug price for people with Medicare. Rep. Doggett’s bill lifts the restrictions that currently prevent Medicare from negotiating with drug companies, but just as importantly it would give Medicare the leverage it needs to negotiate effectively without putting patients at risk.

Here’s how it would work:

  • Under H.R. 1046, the Secretary of Health and Human Services would be required to negotiate prices for covered Medicare Part D drugs (which is most drugs). This would help to bring down spending on prescription drugs by billions of dollars, since Medicare Part D has a tremendous amount of purchasing power.

  • If the negotiations don’t arrive at an appropriate price, the Secretary would be required to issue a “competitive license.” A competitive license means generic producers of drugs would be allowed to manufacture competitors to name brand drugs when the drug company that owns the patent refuses to responsibly negotiate with Medicare. This competition would subsequently bring down the price of the drug for patients.

  • This approach would put drug companies’ monopolies in the crosshairs—not a patient’s access to medicine. Whether companies are willing to negotiate their prices down or have to deal with generic competition, patients will come out paying lower prices.

What about innovation?

Drug companies like to argue that introducing competitive licensing would hurt their bottom line or reduce innovation, but that just isn’t true. H.R. 1046 includes a provision that ensures they receive reasonable compensation in the event that a license is issued for one of their drugs, meaning their investment won’t be completely lost—just their ability to exploit it to extract maximum profit from the patients who take their medicine.

It also bears mentioning that public funding plays a major role in the research and development of new drugs. Of the 210 drugs approved by the FDA from 2010-2016, every single one was associated with NIH-funded research. If taxpayers are helping to fund the research that drug companies use to generate new products, drug companies should not be able to turn around and gouge those same people with high prices once the drugs reach the market.

Call your MoC now and tell them to co-sponsor H.R. 1046, the Medicare Negotiation and Competitive Licensing Act!