WASHINGTON, D.C. – Congressman Andy Barr (R-KY) released the following statement regarding today’s House vote on two health care bills.
“With prescription drugs among the key factors driving up the cost of health care, it is essential that we approve policies that both encourage innovation and protect consumers, particularly our seniors. H.R. 3 is no such policy. It will destroy the progress we have made through the 21st Century Cures Act and result in more than 100 fewer breakthrough cures for patients with cancers, rare genetic diseases and other serious, life-threatening issues.
“I oppose H.R. 3 because its drug price controls will stifle innovation and will result in hundreds of fewer cures.
“I have heard from some of my constituents that they are seriously impacted by the cost of their prescription drugs, the depths they have gone to access medications they need, and how this struggle has affected their health and overall quality of life. Some are truly choosing between paying their electric bill, buying the food that they need, and buying their prescription drugs.
“The results of exorbitant increases in the price of drugs? Needed prescriptions aren’t filled; doses are skipped; pills are cut in half—all harmful to the patient’s health. And why? Because some patients simply cannot afford the exorbitant cost, the skyrocketing cost, of prescription drugs. This should not happen. We must join together to combat the exorbitant prescription costs that confront more and more Americans every day.
“More than half of all Americans, and 90 percent of seniors, take at least one prescription drug each month. For many, access to these medicines is not only critical to their well-being, but it can literally be a matter of life and death. For children and adults with Type 1 diabetes, insulin is not a luxury or something that is nice to have. Insulin is essential to their ability to survive. Insulin was first isolated nearly a century ago in Canada, and yet its cost has soared in recent years.
“Unfortunately, H.R. 3 is no solution. It will dictate price controls for medications and lead to rationing – ultimately destroying drug research, discovery, and innovation.
“We must increase transparency and competition in the prescription drug market. I don’t think there is any product that we buy in this country where there is less transparency in the price than the price of prescription drugs.
“That is why I supported the Lower Costs, More Cures Act, a bipartisan solution that addresses the anti-competitive practices of companies that delay or even block access to a sufficient quantity of the brand name drug needed to conduct the bio-equivalency test required by the FDA as part of the generic drug approval process. This legislation will increase competition and get more generic medicines to the market by stopping behaviors such as Pay-for-Delay agreements where pharmaceutical companies make side agreements with each other not to compete. Further, the Lower Costs, More Cures Act encourages innovation of groundbreaking new cures, promotes low-cost options for patients, places a cap on seniors’ out-of-pocket drug costs, makes insulin more affordable, and cuts the cost of drug administration by as much as half.
“Congress has a tremendous opportunity to deliver a decisive victory in both lowering health care costs and improving health care for the people of the Commonwealth of Kentucky and throughout America. If we want new medicines to reach consumers who need them, the companies that invest in the research and take the risks necessary must see a fair return on their investment. At the same time, we can no longer allow the price manipulation and the market distortions to continue at the expense of the most vulnerable Americans and their families, and ultimately at the expense of every American taxpayer. We can act to make a real difference in the lives of Americans whose health depends on affordable prescription drugs. The required policy solution is not price controls that will limit innovation and ultimately harm patients. The real policy solutions are bipartisan and we should come together and work together to get it done.”