WASHINGTON –U.S. Senator Joni Ernst (R-IA), who is hearing from countless folks across Iowa on her 99 County Tour about the need to reduce the costs of prescription drugs, made Iowans’ voices heard today during a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing, decrying anti-competitive practices that deny patients affordable alternatives.

Ernst began her remarks by highlighting the story of a young Iowan she recently met who lives with a rare genetic disorder and how important the affordability of medication is for him to live.

Click here or on the image above to watch Senator Ernst’s remarks at the Judiciary hearing.

In addition, the senator outlined a number of her legislative efforts to ensure robust competition in the market and lower the cost of prescription drugs for Iowans across the state. She specifically discussed her bill with Senator Tom Cotton (R-AR), the Preserving Access to Cost Effective Drugs (PACED) Act, which would promote greater competition and prohibit sham transactions like in 2017 when pharmaceutical giant Allergan attempted to shield the patent for one of their drugs by paying off a Native American tribe to take “ownership” of their patents.

When questioning one of the witnesses on this matter, Senator Ernst asked how companies can find these sort of loopholes that ultimately deny Iowans access to affordable prescription drugs. Simply put, Ernst says, “it’s crap!”

Background:

Senator Ernst has helped introduce and is a cosponsor of the following bills targeting high prescription drug costs:

  • The Preserving Access to Cost Effective Drugs (PACED) Act — This bill would remove a loophole in the patenting process which allows manipulators to pay Native American tribes to take “ownership” of their patents, thereby allowing the tribes to claim sovereign immunity and avoid review in the case of a dispute. The PACED Act restores the power of the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office, federal courts, and the International Trade Commission to review patents regardless of sovereign immunity claims made as part of questionable transactions.
  • The Creating and Restoring Equal Access To Equivalent Samples (CREATES) Act — This bipartisan and bicameral bill would prevent brand-name pharmaceutical and biologic companies from stifling competition by blocking the entry of lower-cost generic drugs into the market. It is supported by the AARP, the American College of Physicians, FreedomWorks, and the Coalition for Affordable Prescription Drugs, among others.
  • The Preserve Access to Affordable Generics and Biosimilars Act — This bipartisan legislation would limit anticompetitive pay-for-delay deals that prevent or delay the introduction of affordable generic versions of branded pharmaceuticals into the marketplace.
  • The Right Rebate Act of 2019 — In light of the pharmaceutical company Mylan misclassifying the EpiPen as a generic drug and paying lower rebates through Medicaid than the company should have, this bipartisan bill closes this loophole by giving the Department of Health and Human Services the authority to reclassify drugs, impose penalties on bad actors, and demand payment from companies that underpay.

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