New ads pressure lawmakers against easing costs on drug companies

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Drug-pricing advocates are launching a six-figure ad campaign to try to stop Congress from rolling back a move targeting drug companies.

The ads from Patients for Affordable Drugs Now seek to counteract an aggressive lobbying push by drug companies to undo a change from February that shifted billions of dollars in new costs onto them.


“Big Pharma’s trying to cut a backroom deal in Washington, forcing seniors to pay more, so drug companies can make more,” the ad states. “If they get away with it, it’ll mean a $4 billion windfall for them, and even higher drug prices for you.”

At issue is a change Congress made in February as part of a budget deal that shifted more costs in a gap in Medicare coverage known as the “donut hole” onto drug companies.

Ever since, drug companies have been scrambling to undo the change.

“AARP, Patients For Affordable Drugs Now, and older Americans across the country are fighting back,” the ad continues. “Tell Congress: Stop the $4 billion giveaway to Big Pharma. Because you pay enough for your prescriptions already.”

An analysis from the consulting firm Avalere in February found that Medicare enrollees will see “slightly lower premiums” because of February’s change, while insurers will see more significant savings and drug companies will bear significant new costs.

Drug companies have so far been unable to attach a provision undoing the move to various must-pass legislation moving through Congress, but talks are continuing.

One possibility is that a measure aimed at lowering drug prices, known as the Creates Act, could be included as something of a trade in exchange for easing the burden on drug companies from the February provision.

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