In a July 3 op-ed published by The Hill, a website focusing on politics, policy, business international relations, Reps. David N. Cicilline (D.-RI) and Tom Marino (R-PA) called President Donald Trump and the Republican leadership to support the Creating and Restoring Equal Access to Equivalent Samples Act (CREATES) to bring lower priced prescription drugs to market for hardworking Americans.
After all, Trump had just announced in May a new initiative to go after pharmaceutical companies that “choke out competition and policies the shield unfair monopolies, by keeping less expensive generic drugs out of the market,” said the two House lawmakers in their op-ed, noting that The CREATES Act does just that.
At the end of April, Cicilline (D-RI) and Senator Patrick Leahy (D-VT) introduced the CREATES Act to combat anticompetitive practices used by some brand-name pharmaceutical and biologic companies to block entry of lower-cost generic drugs. The legislation also deters pharmaceutical companies from blocking the sale of cheaper generic alternatives.
“As seniors struggle to pay for prescription drugs, pharmaceutical companies are raising the cost of drugs and making huge profits off of our nation’s most vulnerable populations. Speeding the entry of affordable and safe generic drugs into the market is a national priority that will lower prices through increased competition,” noted Cicilline, in a statement when he dropped his bill in the legislative hopper. “The CREATES Act is a vital step in achieving this goal. By ending regulatory evasion and manipulation of safety protections through a well-tailored and cost-saving remedy, the CREATES Act will increase the number of affordable generic choices for consumers in the prescription drug market,” he adds.
In his statement, Marino said: “The CREATES Act will lead to lower costs for patients by ensuring that they have access to safe and effective FDA approved generic medicines. It will also ensure consumer safety by maintaining safeguard features of the Risk Evaluation and Mitigation Strategies (REMS) Program while closing regulatory loopholes that are used to keep prices artificially high.”
Bringing Affordable Generic Drugs to Market
Cost savings from using generic drugs is also documented. According to the op-ed, Federal Trade Commission (FTC) and the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) reports say that using generic pharmaceuticals saves billions annually by reducing the price of name brand drugs by more than 85 percent. These reports are supported by the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office analysis that finds that passage of the CREATES Act would result in a $3.8 billion net decrease over 10 years in the nation’s federal deficit and bring large savings to both consumers and private insurers.
Pushing for the passage of the CREATES Act is a bipartisan effort that you rarely see in both chambers of Congress these days. And its picking up momentum, too. In the House, Cicilline and his GOP Colleague Marino call for passage. In the upper chamber, Senators Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa), Dianne Feinstein (D-CA), Amy Klobuchar (D-MN), and Mike Lee (R-UT), join the Senate’s lead sponsor, Senator Patrick Leahy (D-Vt), in pushing for passage.
Groups Rally to Support Legislation
The CREATES Act is strongly supported by the Association for Accessible Medicines (AAM), consumer groups including AARP, Consumers Union, and Public Citizen; the American College of Physicians; the American Hospital Association; the Campaign for Sustainable Rx Pricing; America’s Health Insurance Plans (AHIP), , Public Citizens, among more than 80 other organizations.
For the sake of America’s seniors now is the time for Trump to support a bipartisan Congressional effort to slash the price of drugs. One such legislative solution is passage of the CREATES Act.