Protect Our Care: Congresswoman Gwen Moore & Wisconsin seniors join Protect Our Care to discuss Biden administration’s efforts to lower Rx drug costs ahead of upcoming Medicare drug negotiations

Joe Zepecki

MILWAUKEE, WI – Today, Congresswoman Gwen Moore and a pair of Wisconsin seniors joined Protect Our Care Wisconsin to discuss the Biden-Harris administration’s next steps in implementing the Inflation Reduction Act’s Medicare Drug Price Negotiation Program. The administration released the final guidance outlining the process for negotiation, and by September 1, the ten drugs that are selected for the first round of price negotiations will be announced. 

A new report from Protect Our Care highlights the five drugs that are most likely to be up for negotiation. The report also details Pharma’s efforts to derail the implementation of this critical part of the Inflation Reduction Act. Prescription drug affordability measures are particularly important for seniors of color and people with disabilities, who experience health disparities in part because they are more likely to have limited access to affordable drugs. 

This event comes as Republicans and big drug companies are attacking the Inflation Reduction Act in Congress and the courts. Pharmaceutical giants Merck and Bristol Myers Squibb, as well as the industry’s trade association PhRMA, are laser-focused on undermining the Inflation Reduction Act by filing lawsuits to protect their profits and stop the administration from negotiating lower drug prices. Big Pharma’s GOP allies in Congress have already introduced legislation to repeal the Inflation Reduction Act’s prescription drug provisions, which would increase drug costs for millions of seniors.

Congresswoman Gwen Moore heralded the historic Inflation Reduction Act, recalling an aside caught on a hot mic from former Vice President Joe Biden’s and amending it to simply say, “This [Inflation Reduction Act] is a BIG deal!” Moore noted that in the fight to rein in exorbitant profits from big pharmaceutical companies no one was out to ‘get’ these companies. “We thank them for their work and their innovation…this is about a fair deal.” 

Two Milwaukee area retirees joined the conversation as well, with very different perspectives and lived experiences that illustrated the impact addressing the cost of prescription drugs will have. 

Ricky, a Local 494 retiree, finds himself in good health but still requires two medications. During recovery from a recent surgery his wife needed eight prescriptions. While discussing the fact that not a single Republican in Congress voted for the Inflation Reduction Act, he pleaded with officials to stop working for the pharmaceutical companies and to “start working for the little man.”

Lewis, a Milwaukee area senior dealing with a host of medical challenges, expressed his dismay at a system so difficult to navigate he finds himself in near constant pain, pleading with lawmakers and the drug companies alike. 

“You just can’t keep on taking from the little people,” he said. 

Friday’s event was also made possible and supported by Opportunity Wisconsin and For Wisconsin’s Future.

You can watch the event here.