Press Release

Senator Welch Hosts Roundtable on Rising Health Care and Prescription Drug Costs in Vermont

May 17, 2024

BURLINGTON, VT –  Today, U.S. Senator Peter Welch (D-Vt.) convened Vermont business owners and employers for a roundtable in Burlington, Vermont, on the rising costs of health care and prescription drugs. The roundtable comes ahead of Sen. Welch’s participation in a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing next Tuesday examining prescription drug prices, competition, and innovation, and how to ensure medications are accessible and affordable for families.    

“Health care costs are a leading pressure for business owners, employers, and employees in Vermont and across the country. That’s why I’ve worked across the aisle to introduce legislation to demand fair prices for prescription drugs and end Big Pharma’s greed tactics like patent thicketing, which drive up costs for patients and businesses,” said Senator Welch. “I was thankful for the opportunity to continue the discussion about how high costs for prescription medications impact health insurance affordability and the choices employers have to make in light of these pressures. I’ll take these insights to Washington and uplift the voices of Vermonters as we continue to work to address prescription drug costs.” 

Sen. Welch was joined by Vermont business owners and employers, including Twincraft CFO Scott Brooks, Gobeille Hospitality Group CEO Al Gobeille, Aprexis Co-founder and COO Michael Howe, Center for Women and Enterprise of Vermont VP of Policy & Director Gwen Pokalo Hart, Vermont Center for Emerging Technologies President David Bradbury, and Vermont Business Roundtable President Seth Bowden.

Senator Welch has long supported initiatives to lower prescription drug prices for Vermonters. This year, Senator Welch along with colleagues Sens. Mike Braun (R-Ind.) and Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.) led the introduction of new bipartisan, bicameral legislation to streamline prescription drug patent litigation, encourage fair market competition, and lower prescription drug prices. In February, Welch hosted a Capitol Hill briefing with health care experts and patient advocates focusing on the harmful impacts of patent thickets on everyday patients.  

This Congress, Senator Welch and Senator Klobuchar also introduced the Strengthening Medicare and Reducing Taxpayer (SMART) Prices Act to build on the success of the Inflation Reduction Act to increase the number of drugs eligible for negotiation and unlock the ability of the U.S. Government to negotiate lower drug prices for Medicare Part D beneficiaries.  

Provisions from Sen. Welch’s bill introduced with Sen. Klobuchar (D-Minn.) to end the ban on Medicare negotiating lower prescription drug prices for Medicare’s 50 million seniors, introduced during his tenure in the U.S. House of Representatives, were incorporated into the Inflation Reduction Act. This roundtable is part of his continued work to make health care more affordable for Vermonters and people across the country.