WASHINGTON—Yesterday, US Senators Bill Cassidy, MD (R-LA) and Al Franken (D-MN) sent a bipartisan letter to US Senators Lamar Alexander (R-TN) and Patty Murry (D-WA), the chairman and ranking member of the Senate Committee on Health Education, Labor and Pensions, requesting a committee hearing to address the important issues surrounding drug spending.
US Senators Susan Collins (R-ME), Michael Enzi (R-WY), Lisa Murkowski (R-AK), Shelley Moore Capito (R-WV), Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI) and Tammy Baldwin (D-WI), Bernie Sanders (D-VT) and Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) also coauthored the letter.
The senators wrote:
“Going forward, we need a comprehensive approach to identify trends related to growing drug spending, bring down overall health care costs, improve and reward quality, and promote innovation.”
To read the letter, click here or read below:
To read Chairman Alexander’s letter in response, click here.
May 8, 2017
The Honorable Lamar Alexander
Chairman, Committee on Health,
Education, Labor & Pensions
Washington, DC 20510
The Honorable Patty Murray
Ranking Member, Committee on Health, Education, Labor & Pensions
Washington, DC 20510
Dear Chairman Alexander and Ranking Member Murray:
Biomedical innovation is a cornerstone of our healthcare system. The development of innovative new cures and treatments extends life and improves health, and we thank you for your leadership in helping to advance such efforts. For these pioneering new discoveries to improve health outcomes, however, patients need access. We are concerned by reports that the rising costs of prescription drugs are placing treatments out of reach for too many patients and driving up spending across our entire health care system. For that reason, we request that the Committee hold hearings on rising drug spending and the impact on overall health spending.
We consistently hear from our constituents concerns related to rising costs of drugs. Increased drug spending can have a significant impact on federal, state, and family budgets.
Because of the personal and economic impact of increased drug spending, the HELP Committee should explore the important issues surrounding drug spending. Going forward, we need a comprehensive approach to identify trends related to growing drug spending, bring down overall health care costs, improve and reward quality, and promote innovation. The Committee will be well served to hear from expert witnesses in hopes of developing bipartisan policies within the jurisdiction of the HELP committee that will help address this growing problem.
Thank you again for your consideration of this request. We look forward to working with you to focus on this urgent health and economic concern.
Senator Bill Cassidy
Senator Al Franken
Senator Susan Collins
Senator Michael Enzi
Senator Lisa Murkowski
Senator Shelley Moore Capito
Senator Sheldon Whitehouse
Senator Tammy Baldwin
Senator Bernie Sanders
Senator Elizabeth Warren