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On Tuesday, President Biden announced the first 10 prescription drugs that will undergo price negotiations with pharmaceutical companies. It marks the first time a president has begun the process to negotiate with companies to lower drug costs for Medicare patients.
The 10 drugs named are just the first to go through negotiations, and patients won’t see the results of the negotiations until 2026, according to the U.S. Dept. of Health and Human Services. Yet for the nearly 9 million seniors who collectively spent nearly $3.5 billion on out of pocket costs to access these prescriptions, the negotiations will have a widespread impact.
“For all of you out there, I get it, and millions of Americans get it,” Biden said at the White House. “I promise you. I’m going to have your back and I’ll never stop fighting for you on this issue.”
Tom Perez is Assistant and Senior Advisor to the President and Director of Intergovernmental Affairs.
“This is a big day for consumers, for seniors and particularly a big day for the Black community,” Perez told The Black Wall St. Times on Tuesday.
Perez said the 10 drugs on the list are used to treat conditions that disproportionately affect Black Americans.
“We’ve been going all over the country” to spread the news, Perez said. “A lot of what happens [in Washington] has a dramatic impact, but they aren’t aware of what we’re doing. This is a big deal.”
Despite criticism from Republicans who claim the negotiations go against capitalism, and the mounting lawsuits from pharmaceutical companies, the White House has no plans to back down from the negotiations.
White House spreads news of cost-saving prescription drug negotiations amid low poll numbers
For years Biden has signaled his desire to lower prescription drug costs for Americans. Yet even after bringing down inflation from a decades-high to just over 3%, the impact Biden has made on the economy hasn’t sunk in for many voters.
Only 36% of U.S. adults approve of Biden’s handling of the economy, according to an August poll from Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research. It’s a slight drop from the 42% of Americans who approve of him overall.
Aside from the criticism from Republicans, some on the left have also criticized the economy for leaving out the most vulnerable Americans.
Nevertheless, the White House believes pharmaceutical companies should prioritize the health of their customers over profit margins.
“I think they need to put people over profit,” Perez told The Black Wall St. Times. “They can still make a profit, but they shouldn’t be able to profiteer unfairly on the backs of ordinary Americans. And that’s what Joe Biden and Kamala Harris are fighting for.”
First 10 prescription drugs to be negotiated
Meanwhile, the first 10 drugs named in the Medicare price negotiations disproportionately impact Black Americans.
The selected drug list for the first round of negotiation is:
- Fiasp; Fiasp FlexTouch; Fiasp PenFill; NovoLog; NovoLog FlexPen; NovoLog PenFill
For instance, Eliquis treats blood cots, reduing the risk of stroke. Black Americans are nearly twice as likely to suffer stroke than White Americans, and they’re more likely to die from it, according to the Centers for Disease Control. From treating diabetes to treating heart failure, the drugs have an outsized role in providing care for Black Americans, yet until now, the prices have often been unsustainable for patients.
“We do this already at the VA. We use that purchasing power to lower the price,” Perez said regarding the Dept. of Veterans Affairs.
Now, following negotiations over the next couple years, the rest of Americans will have an opportunity to receive more affordable life-saving drugs they need.