WASHINGTON – U.S. Reps. Tom Reed (R-NY) and Steven Horsford (D-NV) introduced legislation Wednesday to rein in the skyrocketing costs of prescription drugs.
Reed said that the Stopping the Pharmaceutical Industry from Keeping Drugs Expensive (SPIKE) Act of 2019 would require drug manufacturers to publicly justify large price increases and launch prices for high-cost drugs.
“We care about ensuring hardworking people are being treated fairly,” Reed said. “Many Americans with pre-existing conditions face exorbitant costs at the pharmacy counter and deserve to know why they are paying more for their medication. This is a great step toward transparency and accountability in the cost of drugs.”
“In 2017, Nevada led the nation on drug price transparency by requiring insulin-makers to justify their large price increases. I’m proud to bring Nevada’s model to the national level,” Horsford said. “Too many families are being forced to choose between refilling a medication and putting food on the table. The SPIKE Act will expand upon Nevada’s list of covered drugs and help us lower drug costs by holding pharmaceutical companies accountable for price gouging.”
The SPIKE Act would require manufacturers to report detailed information to the Secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) for certain drugs if their prices exceed certain thresholds. Beginning in 2021, if a drug price increases by more than 10 percent or $10,000 over one year, 25 percent or $25,000 over three years, or has a launch price higher than $26,000, the manufacturer would be required to submit a justification to the Secretary. Drug manufacturers would be required to submit a justification that explains the causes of a price increase or high launch price, which could include information on expenses pertaining to developing, manufacturing, licensing, and marketing the drug.
Over recent years, a number of widely used drugs have spiked in price, including:
Insulin. Insulin witnessed an increase of 197 percent price increase from 2002 to 2013. At this rate, a $5 gallon of milk would now cost $14.85.
Epi-Pen. In 2015, Mylan increased the price of the EpiPen from about $57 for a single dose to $415 for a dual pack. At this rate, a $5 gallon of milk would now cost $41.40.
Cardiac Drugs. Valeant Pharmaceuticals increased the prices of cardiac drugs Isuprel and Nitropress by 525 percent and 212 percent, respectively. At these rates, a $5 gallon of milk would now cost $31.25 and $15.16, respectively.
HIV/Cancer Drugs. Turing Pharmaceutical increased the price of Daraprim, a drug used for HIV and cancer treatments by 5,000 percent in a single day. At this rate, a $5 gallon of milk would now cost $255.
Pain Medication. Vimovo and Duexis, both of which are combinations of low-cost over-the-counter drugs, skyrocketed in price over a short period: A 60-pill bottle of Vimovo that cost $138 in 2013 cost $2,979 in 2018 (a more than 2,000 percent increase); and Duexis similarly cost $140 in 2011 and had soared to $2,979 for 90 pills by 2018.,, At this rate, a $5 gallon of milk would now cost $105.