WASHINGTON—Senators Peter Welch (D-VT) and Jeff Merkley (D-OR) today introduced the End Price Gouging for Medications Act, legislation to lower drug costs for all Americans and end pharmaceutical price gouging. A 2021 study reported that Americans pay 2.4 times what people in other countries pay for prescription drugs. This legislation would require drug companies to offer prescription drugs in the United States at an established international reference price. In so doing, the bill would lower U.S. drug prices to be consistent with what patients around the world pay and increase access to essential medications.
“No one should ever be forced to choose between paying for the prescriptions they need or putting food on the table. It’s unacceptable, and for too many Americans it’s a reality because of Big Pharma’s price gouging,” said Sen. Welch. “The End Price Gouging for Medications Act would put an end to this bad practice and help more Vermonters access the medications they need. I’m proud to join Sen. Merkley to introduce this bill and help Vermonters get the care they need.”
“Americans spend more on research and development on drugs than any other country!” said Sen. Merkley. “We should get the best price, not the worst. Americans are getting outrageously ripped off by the drug companies. It has to end.”
The End Price Gouging for Medications Act would require the Secretary of Health and Human Services (HHS) to ensure Americans do not pay more than the lowest price per drug in eleven other nations: Japan, Germany, the United Kingdom, France, Italy, Canada, Australia, Spain, Netherlands, Switzerland, and Sweden. Pharmaceutical companies would be required to offer their products at the established reference price to all U.S. consumers, including patients who are uninsured. A drug manufacturer who fails to sell their products at the established reference price would face a civil penalty for each year in which violation occurs and for each drug in violation.
The bill is supported by Public Citizen, Lower Drug Prices Now, the Center for Health and Democracy, and Just Care USA.
To read the full bill text, please click here.