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Warner & Kaine Applaud Milestone to Lower Prescription Drug Prices for Seniors

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, U.S. Senators Mark R. Warner and Tim Kaine applauded the announcement that all 10 drug manufacturers whose drugs were selected for price negotiation with Medicare have agreed to participate in the Inflation Reduction Act’s Medicare Drug Price Negotiation Program. The Inflation Reduction Act, which the senators helped pass last year, allows the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services’ (CMS) to negotiate prescription drug prices for the first time in history, which will help lower costs for millions of Americans.

In August, CMS announced the first 10 drugs covered under Medicare Part D—among the costliest for the Medicare program without generic competition—that will be eligible for the program. The drug manufacturers had until October 1 to decide whether to participate in negotiations or face penalties. Nationwide, Medicare enrollees covered under Part D paid a total of $3.4 billion in out-of-pocket costs in 2022 for these 10 drugs. In Virginia, Medicare Part D enrollees have more than 193,000 active prescriptions for these 10 medications.

“Too many Americans aren’t able to afford the medications they need, and that’s why we fought to include a provision in the Inflation Reduction Act to allow Medicare to negotiate prescription drug prices,” said the senators. “Today’s announcement that all 10 drug manufacturers will participate in the Inflation Reduction Act’s drug price negotiation program is a positive step towards lowering prescription drug costs for millions of seniors. We’re glad that the program continues to progress and look forward to seeing its full impacts in the years ahead.”

Under the law, CMS will negotiate directly with drug companies, and the first set of negotiated prices will go into effect on January 1, 2026. CMS will then select up to 15 more Part D drugs eligible for negotiation for 2027 and will continue to build on this progress in subsequent years by negotiating prices of more prescription drugs. The Congressional Budget Office (CBO) has estimated that the drug price negotiation program will lower Medicare spending by $98.5 billion over 10 years.

Warner and Kaine have championed policies to lower the cost of prescription drugs and long fought to allow CMS and to negotiate drug prices for those on Medicare. The senators repeatedly introduced legislation to allow Medicare to negotiate the best price of prescription drugs for seniors enrolled in Medicare Part D. Additionally, Warner, a member of the Senate Finance Committee, helped author the Modernizing and Ensuring PBM Accountability (MEPA) Act, bipartisan legislation approved by the Committee in July 2023 to help address rising prescription drug prices by regulating the middlemen who manage prescription drug benefits on behalf of health insurers and which included key provisions authored by Warner.

Kaine, a member of the Senate Health, Education, Labor, & Pensions (HELP) Committee, previously introduced legislation that would allow Medicare to negotiate drug prices for Medicare Exchange plans, created under his Medicare-X Choice Act, and the Medicare Part D program. In May 2019, he gave a speech on the Senate floor highlighting stories from Virginians from Martinsville, Norfolk, Arlington, and Virginia Beach who have been hurt by the high cost of prescription drugs and calling for reforms to bring drug prices down. In May 2023, he voted to pass the bipartisan Pharmacy Benefit Manager Reform Act, legislation to lower drug costs, out of the HELP Committee. He has also authored and cosponsored bills to strengthen the pipeline and increase transparency for critical medicines and more efficiently usher drugs to the market by making key improvements to the Food and Drug Administration’s review process for interchangeable biosimilars.