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Comments to the Senate Finance Committee: Prescription Drug Policy Reforms Should Focus on Reducing Patient Cost

Yesterday, CCPA submitted the following comments to the Senate Finance Committee:

Chronic Care Policy Alliance (CCPA) is a network of organizations dedicated to ensuring people living with chronic disease have access to quality, affordable healthcare. That is why as the Senate Finance Committee explores prescription drug prices, CCPA urges the Committee to focus on the costs borne by patients while recognizing the immense value prescription drugs bring to improving patient outcomes by improving their wellbeing, their quality of life, and even their lifespan.

The development of new treatments and reasonable access to them is critical to the continued improvement of the lives of patients with chronic conditions. New treatments can change a debilitating or fatal disease into a manageable condition. Therefore, any reforms need to ensure they do not impede current and future development and exploration of cures and treatments.

Patients depend on treatments and recognize the need to foster the development of these treatments – and Congress has been a strong partner in building the regulatory framework that has led to astounding new treatments in recent years. Undercutting the system that has produced these treatments, including innovative vaccines and treatments for COVID-19 in record time, is a misguided endeavor.

Furthermore, as the Committee considers prescription drug policies, it should keep a patient-centered focus and ensure any changes to prescription drug policies benefit patients. Any savings to the federal government created by policy changes should be used to directly reduce consumers’ cost.

As Congress considers potentially sweeping reforms to prescription drug policies, whether those proposed in the Build Back Better Act or other legislation, it is important that Congress evaluate our health system holistically to determine both opportunities for reform as well as the impact each reform will ultimately have on patients. Focusing on costs without focusing on patients could easily create unintended consequences and bring harm to patients. Instead, Congress should focus on specific policies that directly reduce patient costs, such as ensuring prescription drug rebates that are passed directly benefit patients.

We look forward to working with you on future policy reforms that protect patients and guarantee access to quality, affordable healthcare.