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ASHP Sends Letter to US House of Representative Leadership Regarding Vote on Drug Pricing Legislation

Speaker Pelosi and Minority Leader McCarthy

March 16, 2021

The Honorable Nancy Pelosi, Speaker
United House of Representatives
1236 Longworth House Office Building
Washington, DC 20515

The Honorable Kevin McCarthy, Minority Leader
United House of Representatives
2468 Rayburn House Office Building
Washington, DC 20514

Re: House Vote on Drug Pricing Legislation

Dear Speaker Pelosi and Leader McCarthy,

The American Society of Health System Pharmacists (ASHP) thanks you for your efforts and continued dedication to addressing the rapidly rising costs of prescription drugs in the United States. As health system pharmacists, we are keenly aware of the negative impact the rising costs of drugs can have on the patient population and the healthcare system as a whole, and we applaud you for taking action to help curb those costs.

As an organization, ASHP represents pharmacists who serve as patient care providers in acute and ambulatory settings. The organization’s nearly 58,000 members include pharmacists, student pharmacists, and pharmacy technicians. For 79 years, ASHP has been at the forefront of efforts to improve medication use and enhance patient safety.

ASHP’s vision is that medication use will be optimal, safe, and effective for all people all of the time. A primary tenet of that vision includes access to affordable medications needed to save or sustain lives. Addressing the issue of skyrocketing drug prices, including excessive price increases on commonly used generic medications, is one of ASHP’s highest and longstanding public policy priorities. Poor access to medications can lead to increased morbidity and mortality, and can cause healthcare costs to rise.

ASHP has been proactively addressing challenges related to the rapid increase of prescription drug pricing on several fronts, including working with like-minded stakeholders and educating members of Congress about the unsustainable burdens faced by patients, healthcare providers, and the entire healthcare system.

When it comes to addressing the issue of drug pricing, ASHP fully supports competition, value, and transparency. We respectfully encourage you and your colleagues to pass the “Ensuring Innovation Act” (S.415), which would eliminate the loopholes brand-named drug companies currently employ to secure and maintain market exclusivity for products that do not represent true innovation. By closing these loopholes, this legislation would allow cheaper generics into the marketplace and in the process, lower the overall costs of prescription drugs. ASHP also urges you to pass the “Advancing Education on Biosimilars Act” (S.164), which increases the general awareness of biosimilar drugs by enhancing education about biosimilar drug products. By introducing the public to the benefits of biosimilars, this legislation would provide patients with an alternative to brand prescription drugs, and in the process, increase competition and lower prescription drug costs.

ASHP thanks you for your leadership in this important issue. We are supportive of policies that incentivize generic competition and curtail practices that reduce entry of competitor drugs. We are confident that passage of this legislation will provide a valuable step towards accomplishing that goal.

 

Sincerely,

 

Tom Kraus
Vice President, Government Relations

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We represent pharmacists who serve as patient care providers in acute and ambulatory settings.

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