Skip to main content

Sign up for our newsletter.

Quality journalism. Progressive values. Direct to your inbox.

For Immediate Release


Phone: (202) 588-1000

Press Release

Democrats’ Drug Pricing Agreement: A Step Forward, Although Americans Deserve More


Today, Senate Democrats announced that legislative provisions that would allow Medicare to negotiate prices for certain drugs and stem price gouging will be included in the Build Back Better package. Although the terms of the agreement have not yet been released, it is assumed that the final terms closely track those reported earlier today. Robert Weissman, president of Public Citizen, issued the following statement, based on terms reported earlier in the day:

“This agreement falls short of what Americans want and deserve to stop Big Pharma price gouging, but it is a positive step forward nonetheless. The agreed-upon proposal will meaningfully improve access to affordable medications for millions of Americans.

“The fact that Medicare is prevented by law from negotiating the prices of the medicines it pays for through Part D is the result of one of the most egregious corporate influence-peddling schemes in modern American history. Like any other actor in the marketplace, Medicare should have been empowered to negotiate drug prices from the outset. And it should be fully empowered to do so now.

“The new agreement fails to do this. However, it does give Medicare new authority to negotiate prices for the most utilized drugs after they have been on the market for a period of years. This will generate very significant savings for the federal government. Those savings must now be used to pay for Medicare improvements, including coverage of dental, vision and hearing care.

“Thanks to the agreement, seniors will see their out-of-pocket costs go down due to a new cap on how much seniors must pay on their own. And the agreement promises very meaningful relief for insulin users.

“As important as these measures are, a much stronger agreement should have been reached. There is only one reason that Americans are not getting the agreement they should: the political power of Big Pharma and its influence with a handful of Democrats who were willing to prioritize drug company profits over the well-being of the American people.

“At the same time, any relief from Big Pharma price gouging is welcome news.

“Politically, it is important that Big Pharma was not able to steamroll Congress in the way it is used to. For that, Americans owe a debt of gratitude to U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), who insisted that some relief from excessive drug prices must be part of the deal. But thanks are due not only to Sen. Sanders. Many, many Democrats – including true moderates in swing districts – insisted that drug pricing relief be included in the final bill. They understood that their constituents needed and demanded protections against Big Pharma price gouging and that they had a moral duty to deliver to them.

“The direct result of that political courage will be a meaningful improvement in the health and standard of living of millions of Americans.”


Public Citizen is a nonprofit consumer advocacy organization that champions the public interest in the halls of power. We defend democracy, resist corporate power and work to ensure that government works for the people – not for big corporations. Founded in 1971, we now have 500,000 members and supporters throughout the country.

Groups Warn US Lawmakers Against Fueling 'New Cold War' With China

A policy of hostility toward Beijing, says a global justice advocate, has "become a convenient excuse for pushing a corporate, militarist agenda."

Jessica Corbett ·

Democracy 'On the Line' Says Bowman After Protest Arrest

"I will not stand by and I will not stay quiet while the fate of our democracy continues to hang loosely by a thread that the Senate is hellbent on tearing apart."

Julia Conley ·

To 'Hold Her Accountable for What She Did,' Primary Sinema Project Gets Into Gear

"Kyrsten Sinema is unfit to be a United States senator," the project asserts. "Just like the filibuster itself, we need to get rid of her if we want to save our democracy before it's too late."

Brett Wilkins ·

Biden Outpaced Trump on Drilling Permits in First Year

"Avoiding catastrophic climate change requires ending new fossil fuel extraction," said one advocate, "but Biden is racing in the opposite direction."

Kenny Stancil ·

First Stop for Cuellar After FBI Raid? An Anti-Choice Event

"Despite being under an FBI investigation," said progressive primary challenger Jessica Cisneros, the congressman from Texas "has once again proven that nothing can stop him from opposing our reproductive rights and freedoms."

Brett Wilkins ·

Support our work.

We are independent, non-profit, advertising-free and 100% reader supported.

Subscribe to our newsletter.

Quality journalism. Progressive values.
Direct to your inbox.

Subscribe to our Newsletter.

Common Dreams, Inc. Founded 1997. Registered 501(c3) Non-Profit | Privacy Policy
Common Dreams Logo