Rush Legislation to Lower Prescription Drug Prices Passes the House

May 16, 2019
Press Release

WASHINGTON — Today, U.S. Representative Bobby L. Rush (D-Ill.) voted in favor of H.R. 987, the Strengthening Health Care and Lowering Prescription Drug Costs Act, which included his legislation, H.R. 1499, the Protecting Consumer Access to Generic Drugs Act of 2019 that prohibits the practice of pay-for-delay, where brand-name companies compensate generics to prevent the entry of cheaper drugs into the market.

This omnibus bill is a major piece of legislation that addresses two top concerns of the American people — lowering prescription drug prices and defending vital protections for people with pre-existing conditions.

“Millions of Americans are struggling to keep up with the rapidly rising cost of prescription drugs.  Last year, nearly 20 percent of skipped doses were due to high costs alone.  This is absolutely unacceptable.  I have long stood against these anti-competitive deals which limit competition and force consumers to pay more for their medications.  This disgraceful and deceptive practice ends now,” said Rush.

This bipartisan legislative package includes three key drug-pricing measures to create significant savings for consumers:

  • The Protecting Consumer Access to Generic Drugs Act: This bill prohibits the practice of “pay-for-delay,” in which brand name drug companies compensate generics to delay the entry of generic drugs into the market.  This practice leads to decreased competition and increased drug prices for Americans.
    • This bill is cosponsored by U.S. Representatives Lisa Blunt Rochester (D-Del.), Salud O. Carbajal (D-Calif.), Andre Carson (D-Ind.), Ed Case (D-Hawaii), Sean Casten (D-Ill.), Gilbert Ray Cisneros Jr. (D-Calif.), Yvette D. Clarke (D-N.Y.), Steve Cohen (D-Tenn.), Gerald E. Connolly (D-Va.), Jim Cooper (D-Tenn.), Angie Craig (D-Minn.), Sharice Davids (D-Kan.), Mark DeSaulnier (D-Calif.), Debbie Dingell (D-Mich.), Anna G. Eshoo (D-Calif.), Abby Finkenauer (D-Iowa), Alcee L. Hastings (D-Fla.), Chrissy Houlahan (D-Pa.), Robin L. Kelly (D-Ill.), Joseph P. Kennedy III (D-Mass.), Ro Khanna (D-Calif.), James R. Langevin (D-R.I.), John B. Larson (D-Conn.), Doris O. Matsui (D-Calif.), Grace Meng (D-N.Y.), Debbie Mucarsel-Powell (D-Fla.), Joe Neguse (D-Colo.), Donald Norcross (D-N.J.), Frank Pallone Jr. (D-N.J.), Chris Pappas (D-N.H.), Mike Quigley (D-Ill.), Jamie Raskin (D-Md.), Raul Ruiz (D-Calif.), Janice D. Schakowsky (D-Ill.), David Scott (D-Ga.), Elissa Slotkin (D-Mich.), Adam Smith (D-Wash.), Haley M. Stevens (D-Mich.), Bennie G. Thompson (D-Miss.), David J. Trone (D-Md.), Lauren Underwood (D-Ill.), Jefferson Van Drew (D-N.J.), Peter Welch (D-Vt.), Jennifer Wexton (D-Va.), and Susan Wild (D-Pa.).
    • This bill is endorsed by AARP, American Academy of Dermatology Association, American Medical Association, Cigna, Community Catalyst, CVS Health, Magellan Health, National Association of Chain Drug Stores, Patients for Affordable Drugs, Pharmaceutical Care Management Association, and Public Citizen.
  • The CREATES Act: This bill establishes a process by which generic manufacturers are able to obtain sufficient quantities of the brand drug samples, thereby blocking delaying tactics.
  • The BLOCKING Act: This bill allows generics to get to market earlier by preventing unnecessary delays.

“Delay tactics to bring generics to market prioritize corporate profits over people and leave both patients and taxpayers on the hook.  House Democrats are addressing the skyrocketing cost of prescription drugs and are making good on our promise that no American should be forced to make the choice between paying their bills or buying their pills,” Rush added.

This bill also includes the following four measures to improve our healthcare system by revoking the Junk Plan rule, thereby reinforcing protections for patients with pre-existing conditions, expanding the number of individuals with quality, affordable coverage, and helping more states create state-based marketplaces:

  • The SAVE Act: This bipartisan bill appropriates $200 million to assist interested states in creating their own state-based marketplaces.  This bill empowers states to implement new approaches that lower costs and expand coverage for American families, thereby improving our healthcare system.
  • The MORE Health Education Act & The ENROLL Act: These bills restore critical funding for marketplace consumer outreach and enrollment education activities, as well as for the Navigator program, both of which the Trump Administration has slashed.  The Congressional Budget Office estimates that this funding will result in about 500,000 additional enrollees in high-quality affordable coverage and Medicaid each year over the next 10 years.
  • Rescinding the Trump Administration’s Devastating Junk Plan Rule: This bill reinforces the protections for people with pre-existing conditions by revoking the Trump Administration’s rule that promotes the sale of junk plans, which discriminate against people with pre-existing conditions and do not cover essential benefits.

“Since day one, the Trump Administration has been taking deliberate action to sabotage our healthcare system.  Democrats are fighting back by moving common-sense legislation that lowers consumers’ costs and expands health care access.  I urge the Senate answer the call from the American people and support the Strengthening Health Care and Lowering Prescription Drug Costs Act.  The American people are demanding action to deliver progress in their lives and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell should stop standing in the way and fight for the people,” said Rush.