McKinley, Kuster Introduce Bipartisan Legislation to Save Seniors Billions in Drug Costs

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Washington, October 30, 2019 | comments
Today, U.S. Representatives David B. McKinley, P.E., (R-W.Va.) and Annie Kuster (D- N.H.) introduced the Ensuring Access to Lower-Cost Medicines for Seniors Act, aimed at ensuring Medicare beneficiaries receive the full benefit of affordable generic drugs.

In 2018 alone, generics and biosimilars saved Medicare beneficiaries over $90 billion. However, these savings are at risk due to an increasing number of generic and biosimilar medicines being included in the same pricing category  as the more expensive “brand name” drugs.

Ensuring Access to Lower-Cost Medicines for Seniors Act (H.R. 4913) seeks to reverse the negative impact of these recent changes, which are unnecessarily increasing what patients on Medicare Part D pay out-of-pocket for generic drugs. Click here to read the full text of H.R. 4913

“Seniors are getting hit the hardest by skyrocketing drug prices, specifically since many live on a fixed income. This bill would work to ensure seniors on Medicare Part D receive their medication at the best price,” McKinley said. “It is critical that we ensure our nation's seniors have access to affordable medicines.”

"I’ve heard from many Granite State Seniors about the stress and anxiety they feel over the high cost of their medications,” said Rep. Kuster. “Americans who are on Medicare are struggling to afford overpriced generic drugs. The Ensuring Access to Lower-Cost Medicines for Seniors Act will help ensure that seniors can get the medications they need without the hardship of being forced to choose between their prescriptions and other essentials like groceries or rent. I’m proud to introduce this bipartisan legislation, and I hope that my colleagues will join me to support this commonsense measure."

To ensure that Medicare’s seniors receive the full value of lower-cost generics and biosimilars, Ensuring Access to Lower-Cost Medicines for Seniors Act would: 

  • Ensures automatic coverage of lower-cost generic and biosimilar medications on plan formularies immediately after launch.
  • Places generic drugs on “generic-only” formulary tiers so patients are not charged the higher brand rate.
  • Creates a dedicated specialty tier for specialty generics and biosimilars with significantly lower patient cost-sharing than the brand specialty tier.

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