President Biden heads to Nevada to talk about lowering prescription drug prices

Published: Mar. 15, 2023 at 11:10 AM EDT

WASHINGTON (Gray DC) - President Biden will be speaking in Las Vegas, Nev. Wednesday about his plan to lower prescription drug costs.

On Tuesday, Novo Nordisk said they would slash their prices for insulin by 75 percent. This comes two weeks after Eli Lilly promised to lower the cost of the drug at $35 a month for all. The White House praised both decisions.

The president will focus on getting drugmakers and congressional Republicans on board with his plan to make the price of insulin the same for all Americans.

“These are critical wins for the American people, and we are looking forward to talking to the American people about this work that we’re doing across the board to lower drug costs,” said Christen Linke Young, Deputy Assistant to the President for Health and Veterans Affairs.

When the president signed the Inflation Reduction Act last year, it gave Medicare more power to negotiate prescription drug prices and capped the cost of insulin for seniors at $35 a month.

Linke Young said, “We were delighted to see two of the major insulin manufacturers in this country respond to the president’s call.”

Sen. Jacky Rosen (D-Nev.) said, “Nevadans pay way too much for prescription drugs, forcing many people to make difficult decisions about whether to take their medications or put food on the table. I’ve made it a priority to fight for lower prescription drug prices by helping change the law to allow Medicare to negotiate prescription drug costs and cap the costs of insulin for seniors. I’ll keep working in the Senate to ensure we lower prescription drug costs for all Nevadans.”

Sen. Catherine Cortez Masto (D-Nev.) commented, “I fought to lower health care costs for Nevadans, and we’ve already made progress capping the cost of insulin for seniors and allowing Medicare to negotiate drug prices,” said Senator Cortez Masto. “I’ll keep working with the administration to bring real relief to Nevada families.”

However, the pharmaceutical lobby thinks the president is looking at the issue the wrong way. The Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America, or PhRMA, said drug manufacturers are not to blame for high costs of prescription drugs. Rather, PhRMA blames Pharmacy Benefit Managers, or PBMs, that serve as the middlemen between the companies and the patients.

“Because there’s probably no other supply chain in the world that takes up 50% of the cost. And a lot can be done to try and push those discounts and rebates back down to the patients who need them,” said PhRMA COO Lori Reilly.

Reilly also said, between the Inflation Reduction Act and President Biden’s budget, the president’s policies are having and will have long-term devastating impacts on future research and development for medicines.

“He’s doubling down, and I would argue making it much worse by shortening the amount of time that companies will be allowed to be on the market before the government intervenes. And sets that’s the price of it,” Reilly said.

The White House said it is willing to explore all areas to lower costs for drugs in the face of rising inflation and will not stop until Americans can afford their medications.