Ambassador Susan E. Rice Remarks to Press on Lower Prescription Drug Prices
As Prepared For Delivery:
Hello, everyone. Thank you, Kevin [Munoz].
Americans pay two to three times as much for prescription drugs than citizens in other countries.
That’s why, since Day One, President Biden has been committed to lowering health care costs and expanding benefits for Americans. And he has done just that with the Inflation Reduction Act.
First, this law makes many recommended vaccines free for Medicare beneficiaries.
Tomorrow, the Biden-Harris Administration will release new data showing how President Biden’s prescription drug law is saving money for seniors across the country.
A new report finds that 3.4 million people with Medicare would have saved an average of nearly $70 per person in 2021 had the Inflation Reduction Act already been in effect. That’s over $230 million in savings on recommended vaccines, like the shingles and tetanus vaccines.
We expect that, in 2023 and beyond, even more people with Medicare will benefit from this provision, and vaccine uptake will be higher, because the lower out-of-pocket costs will encourage folks to get these important vaccines.
Next, under the Inflation Reduction Act, for the first time, Medicare will negotiate lower prescription drug prices for seniors. Medicare will announce the first 10 drugs selected for negotiation on in September. Tomorrow, the Department of Health and Human Services will release initial guidance on how its drug price negotiation process will work.
Furthermore, the Inflation Reduction Act requires prescription drug companies to pay rebates to Medicare if they raise their prices faster than inflation—as was true of 1,200 prescription drugs last year alone!
Starting April 1, Medicare beneficiaries will pay lower coinsurance for Part B drugs that raise prices faster than inflation. Tomorrow, HHS will publish its first list of drugs for which this provision will apply.
And, all of this builds on our work to lower insulin costs.
Insulin costs less than $10 to make, but some Americans pay over $300 for it. That’s flat-out wrong.
President Biden called on pharma companies to bring prices down for insulin on their own. We’ve seen two major manufacturers heeding that call. Just today, Novo Nordisk announced its plans to cut the price of insulin by 75%. Congress should finish the job and extend the $35 insulin cap to all Americans.
But we know that Congressional Republicans have a very different plan—one that would be bad for Americans’ health and their pocketbooks.
Congressional Republicans have introduced legislation to repeal the Inflation Reduction Act. That means millions of Americans would pay higher health insurance premiums and higher taxes. Millions of Americans paying higher drug and insulin prices. Millions of seniors unable to get recommended vaccines for free. And billions of dollars back in the pockets of Big Pharma while increasing the deficit.
I’m proud of the work we’ve done to lower costs for Americans and improve their access to important treatments and preventative care. We’ve got more work to do to finish the job. And millions of Americans are relying on us to do just that.
With that, I will turn it over to Secretary Becerra. Thank you.