Ernst Prioritizes Lowering Drug Costs for Iowans in Start of New Congress

Just weeks into the new year, Ernst has already introduced and cosponsored four different bills aiming to crack down on high drug prices

WASHINGTON – Just weeks into the new session of Congress, U.S. Senator Joni Ernst (R-IA) is fighting to lower drug costs for Iowans, having already introduced and cosponsored four different bills each aiming to crack down on high prices.

“The high costs of prescription drugs and health care affect all Iowans, but especially our elderly and families on a fixed income. Again, in this Congress, I’m working with lawmakers across the aisle on legislation to increase competition in the marketplace, to drive down prescription drug prices, and to close loopholes that allow bad actors to take advantage of the system,” said Senator Joni Ernst.

Brad Anderson, AARP Iowa State Director, said, “We are pleased that Senator Ernst has made reducing high drug prices a top priority. We particularly applaud the Senator’s co-sponsorship of two bills supported by AARP, the CREATES Act and the Preserve Access to Affordable Generics and Biosimilars Act— both bills would improve competition by getting lower priced drugs to market faster, thus lowering prescription drug prices, and saving taxpayers money.”

In the last seven weeks, since the start of the new Congress, Senator Ernst helped introduce and is a cosponsor of the following bills targeting high drug costs:

  • 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 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 American Association of Retired Persons (AARP), the American College of Physicians, FreedomWorks, and the Coalition for Affordable Prescription Drugs, among others.
  • 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.
  • The Preserving Access to Cost Effective Drugs (PACED) Act — This bill would remove a loophole in the patenting process which allows manipulators to pay Indian 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.