Daines: We Need to Lower Prescription Drug Prices for Montanans

U.S. SENATE – U.S. Senator Steve Daines yesterday discussed the need to lower prescription drug costs for Montanans and for all Americans at the first official U.S. Senate Finance Committee hearing this Congress.

Finance Committee

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“The high cost of prescription drugs is an issue that folks back in Montana call me about frequently and write to me about a lot,” Daines said. “Mr. Chairman I look forward to working with you and Members of this Committee to make sure consumers can afford medications they depend on… I want to ensure that we protect access to critical medications and continue to support the innovation we want to see to develop the next generation of new and lifesaving medicines.”

At the hearing, Daines highlighted that specialty drugs generate roughly 40 percent of all spending on medicines even as they represent fewer than one percent of total prescriptions.

Daines also asked Peter Bach, MD, Director of Memorial Sloan Kettering Center for Health Policy and Outcomes, what the Committee and Congress can do at the federal level to help lower drug costs for consumers.

Finance drug prices 2

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“When we think about trying to solve this problem, it can’t be some sort of blanket approach, we’ve got to take a look at specifics here,” Daines said. “What are the three or four drugs that are widely prescribed – insulin is a great example here – that we should look at and have case studies around what we can do here to put better policy forward for lower costs.”

Bach agreed with Daines’ approach on using targeted, focused policies saying, “we don’t want to go boil the ocean when we can use focused policy to deal with certain categories of drugs that are really driving spending and actually account for very few prescriptions compared to the rest.”

Daines is only the third senator from Montana to serve on the U.S. Senate Finance Committee.