Press Release

#FewerCures Facts🎬Crenshaw Joins Walden to Talk Bipartisan Solutions to Lower Insulin Costs


12.02.19

WASHINGTON, DC – Representative Dan Crenshaw (R-TX) is joining Energy and Commerce Republican Leader Greg Walden (R-OR) for a video series aimed at providing the facts on Speaker Pelosi’s partisan plan for fewer cures.

In the fifth video in the series released today, titled “GOP Solutions: Insulin Savings,” Walden and Crenshaw discuss how Democrats are rejecting bipartisan solutions that could bring savings to Americans at the pharmacy counter. Specifically, the lawmakers address the bipartisan opportunity to lower drug costs for seniors on Medicare Part D and Americans living with diabetes – an opportunity Democrats purposely upended during an Energy and Commerce markup of H.R. 3.

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Full Transcript

Crenshaw: There was another interesting study done in California, which showed that of 25 FDA-approved drugs over the last 10 years, under these rules, only 3 of them would have actually been approved. That’s a scary thing.

Walden: And that’s why it doesn’t have to be an either/or. There are things you can do to get new medicines to market and bring down prices. We did it with EpiPen as Republicans. Remember the EpiPen issue? Where there was no competitor, they could raise prices and they did. So we changed the law to allow competition and as a result now there’s competition. My wife used to use an EpiPen or at least carry one. The doctor said “you probably don’t need to have it, you can probably use Benadryl.” Not everybody had that choice. But when that EpiPen went from $160 to $400, $500 or $600, she made the choice and went back to Benadryl. And some people can’t make that choice. So what we said is “why don’t we change this?” So we changed how the Food and Drug Administration approves new drugs and medical devices and within the first year of getting that in place, they approved a record number, 1,171 new generic drugs into the market. And now we have a competitor to EpiPen and a whole bunch of other competitors. And then we discovered some other issues, which we can get into later, about how to stop the gaming in the system that we identified. So, we get consumer choice, innovation and lower price.

Crenshaw: One of the problems with this, it seems to me, is that, so, 90% of drugs out there are generic. There’s 10% of drugs out there that are specialty drugs. They’ve gone through an innovation process. People need those specialty drugs. And then a small sliver of those, we deem to have way too high a price. So, one example the Democrats always use and I understand why, rightfully so, is insulin. 

Walden: Right.

Crenshaw: So, the question is: Do we change the entire format of the market? Do we take a sledgehammer to the drug market or do we take a scalpel to it? In Energy and Commerce, there was a bill to fix the problem with insulin specifically.

Walden: Right, so 1 out of 5 seniors and this is what we’re dealing with here, 1 out of 5 seniors are diabetic. And so when it comes to insulin, we wanted to take the savings that are already in the system or would be negotiated in the system and make sure when you go to the counter, at your local pharmacy and get your insulin, all that savings went to you, the senior consumer. We also think there ought to be an out-of-pocket cap on seniors on Medicare Part D, so you know, so you have that security and know the limits. And we lowered those limits. There’s a lot of these things you can do, and none of that, by the way, would put a spike in innovation like their bill would do.

Crenshaw: Right. The Democrats voted against those ideas.

Walden: They did. Certainly on the one about getting the funding straight to you as a consumer. Right now, it just goes in the overall program and allegedly you see some savings somewhere maybe sometime. It’s nothing compared to when you’re actually at the counter and you’ve got that savings passed through to you. Most of what happens, they just want to go spend the money on more government. 

Crenshaw: Yeah and it gets to this problem of oversimplifying complex issues. And again, it’s easy to say we’re the party that wants to lower drug prices but the solution to do it has serious consequences that they just ignore. And as responsible lawmakers, we have to take those consequences into account. We can actually have it both ways here. 

The sixth video in the series, titled “GOP Solutions – The Path Forward,” will be released tomorrow.

FULL VIDEO SERIES

Watch each video in the #FewerCures Facts series using the links below:

  1. “Impact on Cures”
  2. “Tax on Cures & Impact on Innovators”
  3. “Debunking the Dems’ VA Talking Point”
  4. “Debunking the Dems’ Research Talking Point”

Subcommittees
Health (116th Congress)
Press Release