DearColleague.us

Letter

From the office of:

Susan Wild

Sending Office: Honorable Susan Wild
Sent By:
Zach.Fowler@mail.house.gov

Current Co-Signers (53): Reps. Susan Wild, Raul M. Grijalva, Joe Neguse, Jahana Hayes, Jesus G. “Chuy” Garcia, Ann Kirkpatrick, Mary Gay Scanlon, Jamie Raskin, John B. Larson, Eleanor Holmes Norton, Haley M. Stevens, Steve Cohen, Sylvia
R. Garcia, Veronica Escobar, Nydia M. Velazquez, Lucille Roybal-Allard, David N. Cicilline, Lois Frankel, Nanette Diaz Barragan, Henry Cuellar, Gilbert R. Cisneros, Jr., Rashida Tlaib, Daniel T. Kildee, Tulsi Gabbard, Tim Ryan, Tom Malinowski, Brenda L. Lawrence,
Bennie G. Thompson, Sheila Jackson Lee, Alcee L. Hastings, Ed Case, Bobby L. Rush, Jose E. Serrano, Mike Doyle, Paul D. Tonko, Joyce Beatty, Eliot L. Engel, Pramila Jayapal, Lloyd Doggett, Andy Levin, C.A. Dutch Ruppersberger, Peter A. DeFazio, Lucy McBath,
Josh Harder, Marcy Kaptur, Peter Welch, Mark Pocan, Rosa L. DeLauro, Dwight Evans, Karen Bass, Adriano Espaillat, Frederica S. Wilson, Ted W. Lieu

Endorsing Organizations: Families USA

Dear Colleague:

Please join me in sending a letter to leadership urging bold action in the next COVID-19 stimulus/disaster relief package to address prescription drug prices. This letter requests the setting of immediate price caps, through the duration of this pandemic,
for those drugs that treat the medical conditions most adversely affected by COVID-19, like medications for heart disease, insulin for diabetes, and inhalers and steroids for asthma and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD).

Even before this COVID-19 pandemic, drug prices in this country were causing dire consequences among our constituents.  This pandemic has only made things worse, especially for individuals living with heart disease, diabetes, asthma, and COPD.  During this
surge of COVID-19 cases in the United States, we are seeing shortages of life-saving drug supplies, rapid increases in drug prices, significant job losses, including 700,000 in March alone, and many people left without health insurance.

We know that absent aggressive Congressional action to cap the prices of life-saving prescription drugs, market forces—driven by short supply and high demand—will only lead to increased prices that our constituents already cannot afford.  

In addition to the actions taken to date, we must act now to make prescription drug prices affordable. Please contact Zach Fowler (Zach.Fowler@mail.house.gov) to co-sign.

Sincerely,

Susan Wild

Member of Congress

 

The Honorable Nancy Pelosi                                     The Honorable Kevin McCarthy                 

Speaker                                                                       Minority Leader                                            

U.S. House of Representatives                                   U.S. House of Representatives         

Washington, DC  20515                                             Washington, DC  20515

Dear Speaker Pelosi and Minority Leader McCarthy:

We, the undersigned Members of Congress, urge bold and unprecedented legislative action in the next COVID-19 stimulus/disaster relief package to address the affordability of prescription drugs. Present extraordinary circumstances demand that we take action
to set immediate price caps, for the duration of this pandemic, on those drugs that treat the medical conditions most adversely affected by COVID-19, including but not limited to, medications to treat heart disease, insulin for diabetes, and inhalers and steroids
for asthma and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD).

As more data becomes available, cardiac experts now believe that COVD-19 can infect the heart muscle, leading to heart failure or death in as many as 1 in 5 patients.[1]
With as many as 121.5 million adults in the United States diagnosed with cardiovascular disease as of 2016,[2] it is troubling to know that drug costs deterred
nearly 13% of patients with heart disease from taking medications as prescribed.[3]

In addition, more than 7,000,000 individuals in the United States take insulin to manage their diabetes, yet insulin prices in the United States continue to be as much as
ten times as expensive as they are in Canada.  According to the American Diabetes Association, individuals with diabetes have much higher rates of serious complications and death during a pandemic such as this than people living without diabetes. “When
sick with a viral infection, people with diabetes…face an increased risk of [diabetic ketoacidosis]” which “can make it challenging to manage fluid intake and electrolyte levels— which is important in managing sepsis,” a severe and emergent medical condition
that can be brought on by COVID-19.[4] The federal government can and should take cues from states like Colorado, Virginia, and Illinois, which recently
capped copays and/or the price of a 30-day supply of insulin, but the federal government should go further and cap the actual price of insulin as well, limiting its price at the moment to make it affordable for everyone who needs insulin during this crisis.
Many of the more than 7,000,000 Americans with diabetes do not live in those states and are at increased risk of death should they be unable to afford their insulin.

The 25,000,000 individuals living in the United States with asthma may also be at higher risk of serious complications from COVID-19, a respiratory disease that compounds the symptoms most often associated with asthma.[5] 
An albuterol inhaler can cost $500,[6] and, despite recent news of FDA approval of a generic competitor, there have been confirmed accounts of prices as
high as $1,000 (or even higher) during this surge of COVID-19 cases in the United States. Lack of access to inhalers, brought on by increased prices, may result in increased use of nebulizers, which produce mist that may carry the virus and further the spread
of COVID-19.[7]

There is much still to learn about COVID-19 and the reasons that some conditions (including some that are not specifically referenced in this letter) are susceptible to worse medical outcomes than others. But what we do know is that the failure to address
the prescription drug price issue has carried dire consequences for our constituents even before there was a global pandemic spreading through our communities—consequences like bankruptcy, mortgage foreclosure, the rationing of drugs, medical complications,
and death. These life-threatening consequences will only worsen against the backdrop of a grim March jobs report that saw 700,000 lost jobs and which will leave many without health insurance. And this issue will also worsen as this pandemic causes shortages
of the in-demand, life-saving drugs mentioned above. In a nation that already has the highest drug prices of any in the developed world, we know that market forces—driven by short supply and high demand—will only lead to increased prices that our constituents
already cannot afford.

This moment requires that we set price caps on certain life-saving drugs. Years from now, this pandemic will be a case study about our nation’s resilience in crisis. We have an obligation to the American people to make these lifesaving drugs affordable because
outstanding prescription drugs are useless if people cannot afford them.

Sincerely,

 


[1] (https://khn.org/news/mysterious-heart-damage-not-just-lung-troubles-befalling-covid-19-patients/).

[2] (https://www.heart.org/en/news/2019/01/31/cardiovascular-diseases-affect-nearly-half-of-american-adults-statistics-show).

[3] (https://healthmetrics.heart.org/drug-costs-prevent-1-in-8-patients-with-heart-disease-from-taking-medication-as-prescribed/).

[4] (https://www.diabetes.org/coronavirus-covid-19/how-coronavirus-impacts-people-with-diabetes). 

[5] (https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/need-extra-precautions/asthma.html). 

[6] (https://www.whas11.com/article/news/health/fda-approves-generic-albuterol-inhaler/417-e3c7136e-9334-4c24-aa27-933ae6fbd0f4).

[7] (https://fox8.com/news/coronavirus/inhaler-medication-shortage-during-covid-19-pandemic/).

Related Legislative Issues

Selected legislative information: Consumer Affairs, Finance, HealthCare

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