Rep. Wild Introduces Bipartisan Bill to Lower Prescription Drug Costs for Children
WASHINGTON – Today, U.S. Representative Susan Wild (D-PA), alongside Rep. Brian Fitzpatrick (R-PA), introduced critical bipartisan legislation to reduce prescription drug costs for children. The Fair Drug Prices for Kids Act would give states the ability to purchase prescription drugs at the lowest price possible, lowering the cost of those medications for children and saving state dollars. The bill is a companion to legislation introduced in the Senate by U.S. Senators Mark Warner (D-VA) and Cory Booker (D-NJ).
“As this pandemic continues to inflict an unparalleled level of stress and uncertainty on our nation’s families, more and more families in our community are having to make the choice between paying for their children’s life-saving medications or paying their rent this month. And we cannot allow it to continue,” Wild said. “This legislation is a simple fix that will improve care for millions of children across this country in states like ours with standalone CHIP programs and gives parents peace of mind by protecting their children’s health without living in fear of the cost. I’m proud of this commonsense, bipartisan effort that that support our children, our families, and our states.”
“For states with a standalone CHIP program, the ‘Medicaid best price’ is unavailable, meaning that CHIP enrollees in those states may have to pay higher prices for access to essential prescription treatments,” Fitzpatrick said. “Our bipartisan legislation will give states the option to purchase drugs for their standalone CHIP program at the ‘Medicaid best price’ and ensure that children and their families enrolled in a standalone state CHIP program have access to prescription drugs at a reduced cost.”
Under the Medicaid Drug Rebate Program (MDRP), drug manufacturers are required to sell their products to state Medicaid programs at the lowest prices offered to any commercial payer. This is known as the “Medicaid best price.” Unfortunately, for states that have a standalone Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP), the Medicaid best price is unavailable. This means that these states are forced to pay higher prices for the same prescription drugs, which can result in higher costs for families and reduced access to medicines and other forms of needed care.
The Fair Drug Prices for Kids Act would give states the option of purchasing prescription drugs for their standalone CHIP through the Medicaid Drug Rebate Program. This would generate immediate savings for individual CHIP programs and the federal government, opening the door for states to use those excess dollars to ensure additional families and children have access to essential medical care and prescription drugs.
This critical bipartisan legislation is endorsed by First Focus Campaign for Children, Patients for Affordable Drugs Now, and the Children’s Hospital Association.
“States and families across the country are suffering from the high prices of prescription drugs. Medicaid and CHIP make it possible for some families to get the medication they need to live,” said Sarah Kaminer Bourland, Legislative Director, Patients For Affordable Drugs Now. “The Fair Drug Prices for Kids Act will extend basic drug pricing provisions so all CHIP programs get the medication patients need at the lowest possible price. We are grateful to Congresswoman Wild and Congressman Fitzpatrick for introducing this important legislation.”
Wild’s bill is cosponsored by Reps. Matt Cartwright (PA-08), Mary Gay Scanlon (PA-05), Madeleine Dean (PA-04), Dwight Evans (PA-03), Michael San Nicolas (GU-At Large), Filemon Vela (TX-34), Jahana Hayes (CT-05), Henry Cuellar (TX-28), Bennie Thompson (MS-02), and Raul Grijalva (AZ-03).
Text of the legislation is available HERE.