Skip to main content

Sign up for our newsletter.

Quality journalism. Progressive values. Direct to your inbox.

Corporate gatekeepers and big tech monopolists are making it more difficult than ever for independent media to survive. Please chip in today.

Kathleen Rice

"We will not stand by while these representatives attempt to block effective Medicare negotiation legislation that would bring relief 90% of Americans are demanding," said David Mitchell, founder of Patients for Affordable Drugs Now. (Image: Patients for Affordable Drugs Now)

Patient Group Targets Pair of Democrats for 'Selling Us Out to Drug Companies'

"It makes me so angry that members of Congress are choosing Big Pharma over patients. It's unforgivable."

Jake Johnson

A national patient organization launched new ads on Friday targeting Reps. Scott Peters and Kathleen Rice for opposing a plan to let Medicare directly negotiate prescription drug prices, a centerpiece of the Democratic Party's popular agenda to lower sky-high medicine costs.

In the two 30-second spots—titled "Sellout" and "Patients Over Profit"—multiple sclerosis patient Therese Ball slams Peters (D-Calif.) and Rice (D-N.Y.) for prioritizing the interests of the pharmaceutical industry, which has lobbied aggressively against the Medicare drug-pricing proposal.

"The medications I need to live are priced at over $7,000 every month. I can't afford these prices. I don't know how anybody can," Ball says in the ad aimed at Peters, a major recipient of pharma donations who, like Rice, hails from a safe Democratic district. During the 2020 election cycle, Peters raked in campaign cash from Pfizer, Merck, Johnson & Johnson, Gilead, and other pharmaceutical giants.

"It makes me so angry that members of Congress are choosing Big Pharma over patients," Ball continues. "It's unforgivable."

The ads, launched by Patients for Affordable Drugs Now, urge Peters' and Rice's constituents to call their offices and demand that they "stop selling us out to drug companies" and "put lower prices for patients before drug company profits."

Earlier this week, Peters, Rice, and Rep. Kurt Schrader (D-Ore.) teamed up with Republicans to block a Medicare price-negotiation plan from passing out of the House Energy and Commerce Committee, potentially imperiling Democrats' efforts to include the provision in their emerging reconciliation package. As The Oregonian reported following the vote, Schrader "inherited a fortune from his grandfather who was a top executive at pharmaceutical giant Pfizer, has accepted large donations from Big Pharma during his seven terms in Congress."

Under current federal law, Medicare is barred from negotiating prescription medicine prices directly with pharmaceutical companies, which have virtually unchecked power to set prices as they please—one of the primary reasons the U.S. pays far more for the same drugs than other rich countries.

Democrats' proposal—a version of which Peters, Rice, and Schrader voted for just two years ago—would empower the secretary of Health and Human Services to negotiate prescription drug prices on behalf of Medicare. The negotiated prices would then be made available to Medicare recipients as well as patients on private insurance plans.

While the proposal failed to advance out of the Energy and Commerce Committee, the House's chief tax-writing panel approved the provision earlier this week, offering some hope that the key drug-pricing language will ultimately end up in the final reconciliation bill. Democrats believe their plan would dramatically slash costs for patients and result in hundreds of billions of dollars in federal savings, which could then be used to fund an expansion of Medicare benefits.

David Mitchell, a cancer patient and founder of Patients for Affordable Drugs Now, said in a statement Friday that "we will not stand by while these representatives attempt to block effective Medicare negotiation legislation that would bring relief 90% of Americans are demanding."

"We look forward to the full House and Senate enacting effective Medicare negotiation legislation in the reconciliation package that will ensure patients get the innovation we need at prices we can afford," Mitchell added.


Our work is licensed under Creative Commons (CC BY-NC-ND 3.0). Feel free to republish and share widely.

We've had enough. The 1% own and operate the corporate media. They are doing everything they can to defend the status quo, squash dissent and protect the wealthy and the powerful. The Common Dreams media model is different. We cover the news that matters to the 99%. Our mission? To inform. To inspire. To ignite change for the common good. How? Nonprofit. Independent. Reader-supported. Free to read. Free to republish. Free to share. With no advertising. No paywalls. No selling of your data. Thousands of small donations fund our newsroom and allow us to continue publishing. Can you chip in? We can't do it without you. Thank you.

Two Years After George Floyd Murder, Biden to Issue Executive Order on Police Reform

"The entire culture and mentality needs to change to bring these words to life, and to save lives," said one civil liberties advocate.

Julia Conley ·


'Wholesale Fraud' in Michigan Governor Race Could Disqualify GOP Candidates

"It looks like the Republican clown car may be losing a few occupants."

Jessica Corbett ·


Jayapal Says Corporate-Friendly No Labels Shows 'True Colors' by Undermining Jan. 6 Investigation

"To malign the January 6 Committee as a 'partisan exercise' is a dangerous message for the American public and our democracy—one that deeply undermines the committee's work and denies the truth about the Republican Party."

Brett Wilkins ·


As End of Roe Looms, US Doctors Say 'Abortion Is Essential Healthcare'

"Although ACOG's long-standing abortion policy supported safe, legal, evidence-based abortion care, the current reproductive health crisis calls for revisions which make it unmistakably clear that ACOG trusts doctors and patients," said the group.

Julia Conley ·


Biaggi to Primary 'Selfish Corporate Democrat' Sean Patrick Maloney in NY

The New York state senator says she's running "to protect and defend our democracy, to halt the climate crisis, to grow our supply of affordable housing, and to transform our government and economy to serve us all."

Andrea Germanos ·

Common Dreams Logo