The Progressive


A project of Common Dreams

For Immediate Release

Linda Benesch,

Today's Drug Pricing Deal is a Modest Victory for Seniors -- and the First of Many Defeats for Big Pharma


The following is a statement from Alex Lawson, Executive Director of Social Security Works:

"Today, Democrats announced a deal to give Medicare the power to negotiate lower drug prices as part of the Build Back Better package. While the pharmaceutical corporations were able to use their money to limit the number of drugs Medicare can negotiate on, this is still an important victory for seniors, who will now get to keep more of their earned Social Security checks. It's also the biggest defeat Big Pharma has ever suffered -- and it won't be the last.

Once this deal becomes law, no Medicare beneficiary will pay more than $2000 a year for prescription drugs. Additionally, pharmaceutical corporations won't be allowed to raise the prices of their drugs faster than the rate of inflation. This will protect both Medicare beneficiaries and people with private insurance from getting price gouged by Big Pharma.

Furthermore, this plan will protect the lives and livelihoods of Americans with diabetes. It will give the government the power to negotiate a lower price on insulin, and to cap out-of-pocket insulin costs for Medicare beneficiaries and people with private insurance at $35/month.

Not only will this deal save money for seniors, the Medicare program will also save millions of dollars a year. Congress should use those savings to add dental, hearing, and vision benefits to Medicare, which voters rank as their #1 priority for Build Back Better.

Congress must swiftly pass the Build Back Better Act, including these drug pricing provisions, into law. Americans can't wait any longer for lower prices at the pharmacy counter.

This deal is an important starting point, and we're only beginning to fight. We will fight for executive actions that do more to lower drug prices, including shortening exclusivity periods and limiting the criteria for exclusivity. We will fight for another reconciliation package next year that lowers the Medicare eligibility age. We will fight to eliminate the filibuster and expand Social Security's modest benefits. And we will win."

Social Security Works' mission is to: Protect and improve the economic security of disadvantaged and at-risk populations; Safeguard the economic security of those dependent, now or in the future, on Social Security; and Maintain Social Security as a vehicle of social justice.