Rep. Maloney Fights to Give Medicare the Power to Negotiate Lower Drug Prices

May 20, 2005
Press Release
 WASHINGTON, DC - Today, Rep. Carolyn Maloney (NY) announced her support for legislation (HR 376) that would grant Medicare the power to negotiate with drug companies for lower prices for seniors and people with disabilities. Rep. Maloney signed a discharge petition that would bring this proposal to the floor for a fair up-or-down vote.  

Congresswoman Maloney said, “Seniors in New York continue to pay needlessly high drug prices because the Medicare drug law that the Republican-controlled Congress passed in 2003 did nothing to bring down the costs of prescription drugs. In fact, at the bidding of the big drug companies, the law actually prohibited Medicare from negotiating for lower prices. New York seniors and people with disabilities deserve a Medicare drug benefit with the lowest possible prices for its 44 million beneficiaries.”

Currently, Medicare is the only entity in this country that cannot bargain for lower drug prices. The states, Fortune 500 companies, large pharmacy chains, and the Veterans’ Administration all use their bargaining clout to obtain lower drug prices for the patients they represent. Medicare should have the same ability.

Rep. Maloney has a record of fighting for fair prescription drug pricing for the seniors in her district. Last year, Rep. Maloney co-released an international study of prescription drug pricing, revealing that New York City’s seniors pay two to three times more for the same popular drugs than their counterparts overseas. In 2000, Rep. Maloney released a study showing that prescription medications are sold more cheaply when prescribed for pets than for seniors. Another study Rep. Maloney released indicated that seniors in Manhattan pay nearly two and a half times as much for prescription drugs as members of large HMOs. Rep. Maloney has also co-sponsored several bills that would lower drug bills for seniors including the Prescription Drug Fairness for Seniors Act.