August 29, 2023
BRUNSWICK, ME – U.S. Senator Angus King today celebrated the Biden administration’s historic step to lower the cost of prescription drugs. Authorized by the Inflation Reduction Act that passed Congress last August, Medicare will now begin direct negotiations with drug companies on the prices of ten drugs under Medicare Part D. Tens of thousands of Maine Medicare enrollees currently take the ten drugs; paying annual out-of-pocket costs up to nearly $5,000 in 2022.
The drugs treat common conditions such as diabetes, heart failure, blood clots, and arthritis. Allowing Medicare to negotiate drug prices has been among Senator King’s top priorities for years, and one he fought to include in the Inflation Reduction Act.
“One of the first bills I ever cosponsored in the Senate was the Medicare Prescription Drug Price Negotiation Act. As we said at the time, it was a commonsense way to lower drug prices while saving taxpayer dollars. Years later, I’m beyond excited that the Inflation Reduction Act and President Biden have finally made this vision a reality,” said Senator King. “Today’s announcement is a huge victory for Americans – especially older Americans on a fixed income – who are struggling with the high costs of healthcare. These price negotiations will result in significant savings for taxpayers and will hopefully reduce the financial strain on the 30% of Maine people enrolled in Medicare. There is still more work to be done, but this is a truly important, game-changing step in our efforts to lower costs for Maine people.”
“For too long, big drug companies have price-gouged America’s seniors to pad their profits,” said Noël Bonam, AARP Maine State Director. “Today’s announcement is a monumental step toward allowing Medicare to negotiate prices for 10 of the most widely used prescription drugs, so millions of older adults can finally feel financial relief. No one should ever have to choose between paying for lifesaving medications or other necessities like food or rent.”
The selected drugs and the conditions they treat for the first round of negotiation are:
These selected drugs accounted for $50.5 billion in total Part D gross covered prescription drug costs, or about 20%, of total Part D gross covered prescription drug costs between June 1, 2022 and May 31, 2023. Of these ten drugs, eight are among the drugs with the top 25 highest list prices within Part D. The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) will publish any agreed-upon negotiated prices for the selected drugs by September 1, 2024; those prices will come into effect starting January 1, 2026. In future years, CMS will select for negotiation up to 15 more drugs covered under Part D for 2027, up to 15 more drugs for 2028 (including drugs covered under Part B and Part D), and up to 20 more drugs for each year after that, as outlined in the Inflation Reduction Act.
Senator King has consistently worked to reduce healthcare costs for Maine people. The Inflation Reduction Act has laid the groundwork for—and in some cases already implemented—long-term changes in federal policy that will keep people healthier and deliver higher quality care at a lower cost to patients. These benefits are delivered while simultaneously reducing the deficit by finally allowing Medicare to negotiating bulk discounts on the price it pays for prescription drugs. This will save taxpayers hundreds-of-billions.
Impacts Already Being Seen
Impacts Beginning in 2024
Impacts Beginning in 2025