Durbin: Democrats Propose Fairness When It Comes To Prescription Drug Prices

In his speech on the Senate floor, Durbin calls out Senate Republicans for cozying up to Big Pharma, opposing efforts to lower prescription drug prices

WASHINGTON – Today in a speech on the Senate floor, U.S. Senate Majority Whip Dick Durbin (D-IL) spoke out against Senate Republicans’ inaction as Big Pharma continues to earn astronomical profits while Americans struggle to pay for the cost of their prescription medications. In his remarks, Durbin emphasized Senate Democrats’ efforts to allow Medicare to negotiate the cost of prescription medications, mirroring laws already successfully in effect with the Department of Veterans Affairs, to ease the financial burden of these prescriptions.

“[Our] idea is to try to address the challenges which working families in America face today, …So what are we proposing that was characterized yesterday by the Republican Minority Leader as ‘socialistic’? Well, what we’re proposing is trying to bring some fairness when it comes to prescription drug pricing,” Durbin began.

Durbin continued his speech, explaining Senate Democrats’ work to lower the cost of prescription drugs through price negotiation. Because Medicare is currently barred from negotiating drug prices, Americans are paying the highest prices worldwide for pharmaceuticals, leaving millions struggling to pay for live-saving medications while Big Pharma cashes in.

“Blue Cross Blue Shield, based in Chicago, Illinois, told me that the push behind increases in health insurance premiums for families across America is the cost of prescription drugs. They are so expensive. So we’re trying to, on the Democratic side, come up with a plan that reduces the cost of prescription drugs for Americans and American families, particularly for senior citizens. It’s long overdue,” said Durbin.

Describing the legislation proposed by Senate Democrats, Durbin explained that their current proposal would allow Medicare to negotiate the prices for medications, limit the amount of out-of-pocket expenditures that seniors will face under Medicare to $2,000 a year, and establish penalties for pharmaceutical companies to prevent dramatic increases in the price of their drugs.

“What we’re talking about are actual family concerns for the affordability of lifesaving drugs. The Democrats are for it. The Republicans oppose it. They have said it’s socialism or that it’s [the pharmaceutical industry] trying to make a buck or however they want to characterize it…They ought to sit and talk to some of these families…I want to be a part of the Democratic aspiration to make life more affordable, particularly for seniors and those in need of affordable drugs,” Durbin concluded.

Video of Durbin’s floor speech is available here.

Audio of Durbin’s floor speech is available here.

Footage of Durbin’s floor speech is available here for TV Stations.