Bill would lower Rx costs

U.S. Senator Gary Peters (MI) today announced that he has cosponsored bipartisan legislation to lower prescription drug prices by improving market competition. The Reforming Evergreening and Manipulation that Extends Drug Years (REMEDY) Act would stop drug companies from filing numerous meaningless patents on old drugs, while the Affordable Prescriptions for Patients Act would empower the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) to prevent pharmaceutical companies from altering a product before its patent expires, simply to thwart generic competition.

“Nobody should need to choose between paying to put food on the table for their families or life-saving medication. Unfortunately, too many Michigan families are forced to make those choices every day – and that needs to change,” said Senator Peters. “I’m pleased to support bipartisan efforts that would help lower costs for Michiganders by holding drug companies accountable and preventing them from manipulating the market in their favor.”

The REMEDY Act would promote drug market competition by removing barriers to Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approval for lower-cost generic drugs. Currently, brand-name medications are able to file excess patents to their product, which manipulates the market and prevents competition. The REMEDY Act would crack down on these abusive practices and hold pharmaceutical companies accountable.

The Affordable Prescriptions for Patients Act would prevent pharmaceutical companies from manipulating the patent process in order to increase profits. This would also limit the amount of patent infringement lawsuits that drug companies can bring against generic competitors.

Peters has led numerous efforts in the Senate to lower health care costs for all Michiganders. Last year, Peters announced an investigation—through his role as Ranking Member of the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee—into the rising costs of prescription drugs and the short supply of critical medications affecting hospitals and patients throughout the country. He held roundtables across the state as part of a listening tour to hear firsthand from medical professionals and families impacted by high prescription drug costs. Following his investigation, Peters unveiled a new report that incudes recommendations to address the cost, supply and national security threats to affordable drugs. Peters also helped advance two pieces of bipartisan legislation to improve the generic market, the Affordable Insulin Approvals Now Act as well as the Creating and Restoring Equal Access to Equivalent Sample (CREATES) Act, that were signed into law as part of the year-end government funding bill.

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