July 29, 2021

Senate Judiciary Committee Advances Bipartisan Bills to Address Lack of Competition in Pharmaceutical Industry & Rising Cost of Prescription Drugs

WASHINGTON – The Senate Judiciary Committee today voted unanimously to advance four pieces of bipartisan legislation to address the lack of competition in the pharmaceutical industry and rising cost of prescription drugs.  Earlier this month, the Senate Judiciary Subcommittee on Competition Policy, Antitrust, and Consumer Rights—Chaired by Senator Amy Klobuchar (D-MN)—held a hearing entitled, “A Prescription for Change: Cracking Down on Anticompetitive Conduct in Prescription Drug Markets,” where these issues were discussed.

“These important bipartisan bills follow on the heels of this month’s Antitrust Subcommittee hearing on drug pricing.  At that hearing, there was broad bipartisan consensus that legislation is needed to address the lack of competition in the pharmaceutical industry and rising cost of prescription drugs,” said Durbin, Chair of the Senate Judiciary Committee.  “Advancing these bills out of Committee today reflects this Committee’s continued focus on moving meaningful bipartisan legislation to the Senate floor.”

“At almost every one of my county meetings, I hear directly from Iowans who are seriously concerned about the rising cost of prescription drugs,” Grassley said, Ranking Member of the Senate Judiciary Committee. “These commonsense bills will make it easier for patients to access generic prescription drugs by holding drug companies accountable for any anticompetitive behavior without interfering with their innovation. I’m glad my colleagues agree and voted to pass these bipartisan proposals out of committee. I’ll continue my work to improve affordability for medications. These bills are a great step in the right direction.”

“The skyrocketing cost of prescription drugs in our country is an urgent problem impacting millions of Americans, and there are solutions on the table to help them access the medications they need at prices they can afford. We must take action to put an end to industry practices that undermine competition in the pharmaceutical industry and delay the approval of more affordable drugs. Now that these bipartisan bills have passed the Judiciary Committee, we are one step closer to doing just that,” Klobuchar said, Chair of the Senate Judiciary Subcommittee on Competition Policy, Antitrust, and Consumer Rights.

“For too long, some bad actors have gamed the patent system to prevent cheaper generics from coming to market and block access to lower-cost alternatives for Texans,” said Cornyn. “By targeting these anti-competitive practices, this legislation would lower Texans’ cost at the pharmacy, and I’m grateful to my colleagues on the Judiciary Committee for their support of this legislation.”

“Abuses in the patent systems and the exploitation of loopholes in current law have kept generics off the market and stifled innovation. Our bill makes the patent system stronger by validating new products, spurring innovation, and protecting generics so they can come to the market and reduce the cost of pharmaceutical prices. We’ve worked on this bill in a very bipartisan way. I want to thank again Senator Cornyn for his leadership and others who have worked with us very constructively and I look forward to continuing our work as this bill moves to the Senate Floor,” said Blumenthal.

Today’s bipartisan legislation advanced by the Committee includes:

  • Stop Significant and Time-wasting Abuse Limiting Legitimate Innovation of New Generics (Stop STALLING) Act (S. 1425), led by Senators Amy Klobuchar (D-MN), Chuck Grassley (R-IA), Patrick Leahy (D-VT), Richard Blumenthal (D-CT), and Dick Durbin (D-IL), which was advanced by voice vote;
  • Preserve Access to Affordable Generics and Biosimilars Act (S. 1428), led by Senators Amy Klobuchar (D-MN), Chuck Grassley (R-IA), Dick Durbin (D-IL), and Patrick Leahy (D-VT), which was advanced by voice vote;
  • Prescription Pricing for the People Act of 2021 (S. 1388), led by Senators Chuck Grassley (R-IA), Maria Cantwell (D-WA), Richard Blumenthal (D-CT), Thom Tillis (R-NC), Dick Durbin (D-IL), and Marsha Blackburn (R-TN), which was advanced by voice vote; and,
  • Affordable Prescriptions for Patients Act of 2021 (S. 1435), led by Senators John Cornyn (R-TX), Richard Blumenthal (D-CT), Chuck Grassley (R-IA), Dick Durbin (D-IL), and Amy Klobuchar (D-MN), which was advanced by voice vote.

Video of today’s Committee markup is available here.

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