Over 50 Members of Congress to Obama Administration: Help End Drug Price Gouging Now

January 11, 2016

Leslie Tisdale, (202) 225-4865

Over 50 Members of Congress to Obama Administration: Help End Drug Price Gouging Now

Washington—Today, over 50 members of Congress led by U.S. Congressman Lloyd Doggett (D-TX), a senior member of the Ways and Means Committee and founder of the "Affordable Drug Pricing Task Force," urged the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) and National Institutes of Health (NIH), to use their existing authority to bring relief to families suffering from drug price gouging.

"When drugs are developed with taxpayer funds, the government can and should act to bring relief from out-of-control drug pricing," said Rep. Doggett. "Soaring drug costs are a widespread problem, not limited to one disease or treatment. There is a difference between earning a profit and profiteering.  The Administration should use every tool it has to rein in the practice of pricing a drug at whatever the sick, suffering, or dying will pay."
The letter explains that current law authorizes federal agencies, like the NIH, that fund private research which results in a new drug patent, to require the patent holder drug company to license its intellectual property to third parties. This authority, known as "march-in rights," was created by a 1980 statute and exists when "action is necessary to alleviate health and safety needs which are not being reasonably satisfied" or when the benefits of the drug are not "available to the public on reasonable terms."

The Affordable Drug Pricing Task Force aims to promote awareness and collaboration on drug pricing problems crippling family budgets.