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It’s time for strong action

Sen. Charles Grassley leads fight to make prescription drugs cheaper

Health care is expensive. For families all across our nation the biggest concern about health care is not its availability, but rather how they will pay for needed treatments and medicines. That’s true even for people with state-of-the-art insurance. Confronted with huge payouts to health care providers and pharmacies, insurance coverage increasingly comes with healthy copays and high deductibles. Many people with good insurance still face substantial out-of-pocket expenses.

As health care costs go up, the federal government also is having a difficult time finding enough money to fund the Medicare and Medicaid programs. In that regard, the high cost of prescription drugs has emerged as an especially troubling problem that must be addressed. American citizens and our government frequently pay more for such drugs than our pharmaceutical companies charge for the drugs they export. That’s ridiculous and must change.

U.S. Sen. Charles Grassley wants to remedy this situation. He has been a strong voice in Congress for an array of legislation designed to keep the cost of health care as low as possible. The Iowa Republican has devoted particular attention to the escalation in the prices consumers and the government pay for prescription drugs. He has worked in a bipartisan fashion to make sure that less costly options for generic drugs are as widely available as possible. Grassley is a strong believer that more price competition in the drug industry will benefit the public by making high price tags for prescription medicines harder for companies to sustain.

This week, the U.S. Senate Finance Committee, which Grassley chairs, approved important new legislation — the Prescription Drug Pricing Reduction Act of 2019. PDPRA is co-sponsored by Grassley and U.S. Sen. Ron Wyden, D-Ore. Its goal is to make prescription drugs cheaper for not only the government, but also for all Americans.

“The cost of many prescription drugs is too high,” the two senators said in a joint statement released Tuesday. “Without action, we’re on an unsustainable path for taxpayers, seniors and all Americans. … We’ve been working on a bipartisan basis for more than six months to craft legislation that begins to address the broken prescription drug supply chain. Pharmaceutical companies play a vital role in creating new and innovative medicines that save and improve the quality of millions of American lives, but that doesn’t help Americans who can’t afford them.”

The Messenger strongly agrees.

The PDPRA includes provisions that would modernize some existing government programs and bring about more accountability by the pharmaceuticals industry. We congratulate Grassley and Wyden for showing that bipartisan solutions to our nation’s problems can still emerge in our sharply divided Congress. We are pleased that the Senate Finance Committee has approved this bill and sent it to the Senate for action. Making prescription drugs more affordable is a crucial issue and deserves prompt attention in Congress.