WASHINGTON—Senator Peter Welch (D-VT) issued a statement today responding to the drug company Merck’s lawsuit to block drug price negotiation provisions included in the Inflation Reduction Act (IRA). Welch was a key architect of the bill’s drug pricing program and longtime advocate for lower drug prices and health care access.
“This lawsuit is completely without merit and yet another example of Big Pharma putting profits over the health of working families,” said Sen. Welch. “We took a huge step forward for health care access through the IRA—but Merck’s perversion of the judicial process to overturn legislation it doesn’t like puts millions of Americans at risk. I have fought for drug price negotiation from my earliest days in Congress, and I’m not backing down from the fight now. I will continue to do everything I can to preserve these important provisions and help every Vermonter afford the prescription drugs they need.”
The Inflation Reduction Act included landmark provisions to lower the cost of prescription drugs for seniors on Medicare, allowing the Secretary of Health and Human Services to negotiate the price of various medicines on behalf of Medicare enrollees for the first time. The bill also caps seniors’ out-of-pocket prescription expenses at $2,000 a year beginning in 2025 and limits insulin co-pays to $35 for Medicare enrollees.
In February, Senator Welch joined Senator Amy Klobuchar (D-MN) to introduce the Strengthening Medicare and Reducing Taxpayer (SMART) Prices Act, legislation designed to build on the drug pricing provisions included in the IRA and unleash the power of Medicare’s 50 million seniors to help lower drug prices for all Americans.