Alexander Says Help On Way For Americans Struggling To Afford Prescriptions

Tuesday, June 12, 2018
Senator Lamar Alexander, left, with HHS Secretary Alex Azar, on right, who testified Tuesday on Trump Administration blueprint on reducing prescription drug costs
Senator Lamar Alexander, left, with HHS Secretary Alex Azar, on right, who testified Tuesday on Trump Administration blueprint on reducing prescription drug costs

Senate health committee Chairman Lamar Alexander Tuesday said that the Trump Administration’s comprehensive drug pricing blueprint will bring “help to the one in eight Americans who say it is difficult to afford their prescriptions.” 

Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar testified at Tuesday’s hearing, which was the committee’s fourth hearing this Congress on the price Americans pay for their prescription drugs.

“The Administration is taking action for the same reason we held our hearings: we all know many Americans struggle to afford their prescriptions,” Senator Alexander said. “But, when we talk about the cost of prescription drugs, we have to keep in mind that we are living in a time of remarkable biomedical research that is leading to new and lifesaving drugs.” 

Senator Alexander continued: “Included in the blueprint are some steps the Administration has started to take or are planning to take. For example, the Food and Drug Administration is going to start going after bad actors gaming the system to delay generics from going to market. This is also a place where Secretary Azar can use the bully pulpit to enact change. FDA Commissioner Dr. Scott Gottlieb has already released a list of companies blocking access to their drugs and delaying generics coming to market, shining light on the questionable behavior of these companies.

“Another action FDA is considering is requiring drug manufacturers to include the list price of a drug in television commercials or other advertising materials. The blueprint also proposes ending the so-called ‘gag-rule’ that prevents a pharmacist from telling a patient a drug would be cheaper if they paid out of pocket instead of with their insurance.”

Senator Alexander concluded: “I also would like to hear how Congress can help. At our previous hearings, I questioned the need for rebates, because they make it difficult to track where the money goes, and I understand that the Administration may need some additional authorities to modify or end the use of rebates to increase transparency.” 

This was the committee’s fourth in a series of hearings this Congress on the price of prescription drugs. The first hearing in June 2017 examined the path a prescription drug approved by the Food and Drug Administration takes from the manufacturer to patient, and how this path affects what the patient pays. At a second hearing in October, the committee heard from industry experts on what goes into the price Americans pay when picking up their prescriptions. The committee held a third hearing in December to hear from the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine on a report they published on making medicine more affordable.

Senator Alexander’s full prepared remarks are here.



CHI Memorial Medical Group Hires Urologist Mark Currin, M.D.

CHI Memorial Medical Group announces Mark Currin, M.D. has joined CHI Memorial Chattanooga Urology Associates.  Dr. Currin received his medical degree from the Medical University of South Carolina in Charleston.  He completed an internship in general surgery and a residency in urology at Medical University of South Carolina. His career interests are in the medical and ... (click for more)

Ronald McDonald House Of Chattanooga Charity Golf Tournament Hosted By Old Chicago Set for Aug. 27

Old Chicago will host its first annual charity golf tournament to benefit Ronald McDonald House of Chattanooga and the Craftworks Foundation on Monday, Aug. 27 with a 1 p.m. shotgun start at Bear Trace at Harrison Bay Golf Course. "Old Chicago loves giving back to the community and is excited to host the first charity golf tournament to benefit RMH of Chattanooga. Starting ... (click for more)

City To Offer King Street Lot For Public Parking On Nights, Weekends; Special Lunch Parking Rate Set For River Pier Garage

City officials said they plan to offer a parking lot on King Street used by city employees to the public for parking on nights and weekends. Cherita Allen, deputy economic development director, said it will be managed by Republic Parking. The city is having to spend money on the lot because water runs off it to an adjacent building being developed by Hiren Desai. Ms. Allen ... (click for more)

Hearing Delay On Suit Brought By State Democrats To Keep Robin Smith Off Ballot

A hearing has been delayed on a lawsuit brought by the Tennessee Democratic Party seeking to keep Republican Robin Smith off the ballot in House District 26. Ms. Smith was the only candidate after longtime Rep. Gerald McCormick abruptly announced he was leaving his post to move to Nashville. Chancellor Jeff Atherton on Monday afternoon said he could not take the case until ... (click for more)

Make One Of The Proposed Surplus City Buildings Into A Local History Museum - And Response

The city of Chattanooga currently has no history center or museum. That is because several years ago it was conveyed to the public, in the blinking of an eye, that $9 million that had been raised mysteriously vanished for reasons unexplainable to this date. In the meantime, valuable artifacts and collections are sitting in cellars, basements and storage facilities instead of being ... (click for more)

Roy Exum: No Cell Phones Allowed

There was a time, not so long ago, when school-aged children would learn lessons from a prescribed text, such as a textbook. Today texting is far, far different and, as any of our teachers will tell us, cell phones have become the scourge of education. In almost every classroom, kids will silently text in the shadow of the desk in front of them rather than focus on the lesson. Yet ... (click for more)