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Warner & Kaine Statement on Lower Costs for Prescription Drugs

For the first time ever, the Inflation Reduction Act allows Medicare to negotiate prescription drug prices, lowering costs

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, U.S. Senators Mark R. Warner and Tim Kaine applauded the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services’ (CMS) announcement of the first ten drugs covered under Medicare Part D that will be eligible for the drug price negotiation program. The Inflation Reduction Act, which the senators helped pass last year, allows CMS to negotiate lower prescription drug prices for the first time in history. Private insurers regularly negotiate with drug companies for the cost of prescription medications. Nationwide, Medicare enrollees covered under Part D paid a total of $3.4 billion in out-of-pocket costs in 2022 for these ten drugs. In Virginia, Medicare Part D enrollees have more than 193,000 active prescriptions for these ten medications.

“We’ve long fought to allow the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid (CMS) to negotiate drug prices—just as private insurers do—and we’re proud the Inflation Reduction Act included a provision to allow CMS to do that,” said the senators. “Today’s announcement of the first set of drugs eligible for the drug price negotiation program puts us one step closer to lowering prescription drug prices for Americans on Medicare. We look forward to seeing how this program will help so many Virginia seniors afford the prescription drugs they need, and we’re going to continue looking for more ways to lower prescription drug costs for Americans.”

The first ten drugs that will be eligible for the drug price negotiation program are: Eliquis; Jardiance; Xarelto; Januvia; Farxiga; Entresto; Enbrel; Imbruvica; Stelara; Fiasp, Fiasp FlexTouch, Fiasp PenFill, NovoLog, NovoLog Flex Pen, NovoLog PenFill. 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 other 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 to negotiate drug prices for those on Medicare. Warner, a member of the Senate Finance Committee, voted in July 2023 to pass the Modernizing and Ensuring PBM Accountability (MEPA) Act, bipartisan legislation 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 Warner provisions to ensure the public understands those arrangements and that pharmacies are appropriately compensated. 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.