McKinley, Welch Introduce Bipartisan Bill To Lower Prescription Drug Prices

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Washington, February 12, 2019 | comments

Representatives David B. McKinley, P.E. (W.Va.-1) and Peter Welch (VT) introduced the H.R. 985 Fair Access for Safe and Timely (FAST) Generics Act, aimed at bringing down the costs of prescription drugs.

The bipartisan legislation would prevent drug makers from blocking competitors from entering the market. It would increase patients’ access to generic drugs, boost market competition, and lower drug prices for Americans, an issue President Trump addressed in his State of the Union speech. The text of the bill, H.R. 985 is available here.

“The high cost of prescription drugs requires many Americans to make difficult financial decisions for themselves and their families. The FAST Generics Act will help provide patient access to lifesaving medications at affordable prices,” McKinley said. “Families should never have to decide between affording their medications and grocery shopping or filling up their gas tanks.”

“In a time of skyrocketing prescription drug costs, generic drugs are often a cost-effective alternative to brand name drugs. Patients, in consultation with their physician, should have a choice where possible,” Welch said. “Our legislation will save consumers billions of dollars by ensuring timely competition in the market and preventing unfair delays for patients seeking more affordable options for their medications.”

Currently, some drug manufacturers abuse the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) drug safety programs by withholding access to drug samples for generic manufacturers, resulting in anticompetitive practices and increased pharmaceutical costs.

This bill will put an end to what Dr. Scott Gottlieb, the commissioner of the Food and Drug Administration, called “the shenanigans” that prevent competing products from reaching the market.

McKinley and Welch have previously introduced this legislation in the 115th Congress. McKinley also recently cosponsored the Creating and Restoring Equal Access to Equivalent Samples (CREATES) Act which also aims to address this same issue.

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