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

Washington, D.C. - Today, U.S. Representatives David B. McKinley, P.E., (R-W.Va.) and Annie Kuster (D- N.H.) reintroduced 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 tier as the more expensive “brand name” drugs.

The Ensuring Access to Lower-Cost Medicines for Seniors Act seeks to reverse the negative impact of these recent changes, which are unnecessarily increasing what Medicare patients pay out-of-pocket for generic drugs.

“Seniors on fixed incomes are hit the hardest by skyrocketing drug prices,” McKinley said. “Our bill would ensure seniors can benefit from lower-cost generic medicine and limit the amount they have to pay out of pocket. This is a common-sense bill that will help seniors access the medicine they need at a reasonable price.”

“No one should have to choose between buying their prescriptions or putting food on the table, especially during a public health crisis,” said Rep. Kuster. “But, here in New Hampshire and across the country, seniors are struggling to afford their prescription drugs. That’s why I’m proud to help reintroduce the bipartisan Ensuring Access to Lower-Cost Medicines for Seniors Act, to guarantee that older Americans can access their prescriptions at a fair price. I hope my colleagues on both sides of the aisle will join me to support this commonsense measure.”

“The Ensuring Access to Lower-Cost Medicines for Seniors Act restores the original intent of the Medicare Part D program to increase patient access to low-cost medicines and reduce seniors’ out-of-pocket costs for prescription drugs,” said Dan Leonard, President and CEO, Association for Accessible Medicines.

Joining Reps. McKinley and Kuster as cosponsors are Representatives Buddy Carter (R-GA), Doris Matsui (D-CA), Karen Bass (D-CA), and Paul D. Tonko (D-NY).

 

Background:

Reps. McKinley and Kuster introduced the Ensuring Access to Lower-Cost Medicines for Seniors Act last Congress.

The Ensuring Access to Lower-Cost Medicines for Seniors Act would: 

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

To read the bill text, click here.

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