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New bill would force drug manufacturers to publicly justify large price increases

National Institutes of Health

There are certain drugs people can’t live without like insulin and pain medication. In recent years, prices for medication have skyrocketed without much explanation as to why. New legislation being introduced by Congressmen Tom Reed, R-New York, and Steven Horsford, D-Nevada, would require drug manufacturers to publicly justify large price increases.

The SPIKE Act, also known as the Stopping the Pharmaceutical Industry from Keeping Drugs Expensive Act of 2019, is looking to gain traction in a divisive political climate.

Reed’s son is a type 1 diabetic. He said they have spent a year and a half in the diabetes caucus studying the insulin price spike.

“It would empower us to start raising these questions that need to be raised so that pharmaceutical companies who are making insulin as well as other drugs know that they are not going to be able to deal in the darkness anymore and that their prices are going to be transparent. And by transparency, I think you would see a behavioral change in the marketplace by lowering those prices,” he said.

But if something like this passed in the House, could it get by in the Senate? Reed said they have had active discussions with notable senators like Susan Collins and Tim Kaine to hopefully make it happen.

“There are some initiatives that are getting bi-partisan support on the drug pricing arena that I’m hopeful and optimistic will get to the President’s desk for signature,” he said.

Reed said in a few weeks he hopes to have legislative hearings and movement on the SPIKE Act and other drug pricing initiatives.

“My hope is that the American people will speak in one voice and say, ‘You’re going to have these types of price increases. We as people are going to challenge you and hold you accountable to defend that price increase. And then if you can’t,’ my hope is by that power of sunshine and that consumer voice, prices will go down,” he said.

Nick Lippa leads our Arts & Culture Coverage, and is also the lead reporter for the station's Mental Health Initiative, profiling the struggles and triumphs of those who battle mental health issues and the related stigma that can come from it.
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