January 11, 2019

Congressman Joe Neguse Full Remarks on Legislative Package to Lower Prescription Drug Prices

Washington D.C.—This morning, Congressman Joe Neguse joined Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT), Reps. Ro Khanna (D-CA) and Elijah Cummings (D-MD) and other colleagues from the House and Senate to support a legislative package which would provide cost relief to American consumers purchasing prescription drugs. The package includes the Medicare Drug Price Negotiation Act which would direct the Secretary of Health and Human Services (HHS) to negotiate lower prices for prescription drugs under Medicare Part D; the Affordable and Safe Prescription Drug Importation Act, which would allow patients and pharmacists to import safe, affordable medicine from Canada and other major countries and the Prescription Drug Price Relief Act to peg the price of prescription drugs to median prices in five major country: Canada, the United Kingdom, France, Germany and Japan.

Watch the full press conference here.

Below find the full remarks from Congressman Joe Neguse (CO-2) as delivered at this morning's press conference:

“Well first let me just say that’s a tough line-up to follow starting with my friend and colleague Congresswoman Omar, and as a freshman member I would be remiss if I didn’t first say thank you for the folks here in Congress who have been leading this charge for so long, starting with Senator Sanders, and it’s an honor to be able to be here from the United States Congress and to join him in the fight.

I don’t know that I can say it any better than my distinguished colleagues here today, but there can be no dispute that today American consumers pay far more for drugs than it costs to manufacture them.You have heard very clearly that the government is giving exclusive monopoly to pharmaceuticals, and it has to stop.

Prescription drug prices continue to rise and the only ones winning out, right now, are the pharmaceutical companies.

Just to give you some context, in Colorado about 570,000 Coloradans did not fill a prescription last year because it cost too much.

I could spend hours here today recounting stories from neighbors and constituents of mine in Boulder, Colorado and Fort Collins, in Loveland who go without care because they can’t afford it.

No one in America should go bankrupt because they cannot afford to pay for life-saving medicine.

We must get the profit motive out of our healthcare system. We must put a check on the pharmaceutical companies’ reckless price hikes.

And that is why I’m so proud to cosponsor this legislative package with Rep. Ro Khanna, Rep. Elijah Cummings and Senator Bernie Sanders, and my colleagues who are gathered here today. This package represents much-needed legislation to ensure that all Americans can get prescription drugs at an affordable price.

The prescription drug bill responds directly to monopoly abuses by brand-name pharmaceutical companies, as Rep. Ro Khanna articulated so well. They do so by increasing competition in the market, and ensuring that Americans, living in the wealthiest country in the world, do not pay more for prescription drugs than the median price in five major countries.

Instead of listening to the demands of the pharmaceutical industry and their 1,400 lobbyists, as Rep. Schakowsky recounted, it is time that Congress started listening to the American people, who overwhelmingly believe that the cost of medication is too expensive.

We must lower the cost of prescription drugs, we must ensure that we enact policies that work for the American people, not for the pharmaceutical industry.

Again, as a freshman member of Congress, I know Congresswoman Omar remarked on this as well, but the voters in this last election, I think it’s pretty clear. They demanded bold action from their elected officials. It is one of the reasons that we are in the majority in the House. And it is past time we make tangible progress to reduce the cost of healthcare and prescription drug prices, and these bills represent an important step in that process.”