U.S. Rep. Jan Schakowsky (D-IL,9) is sounding the alarm over the proposed Trans-Pacific Partnership's (TPP) potential impacts on affordable prescription drug access.
Schakowsky joined U.S. Rep. Rosa DeLauro (D-CT,3) as well as health and consumer advocates on a Friday conference call to highlight leaked intellectual property provisions in the proposed trade deal that could curb access to generic medicines.
One item contained in the TPP's leaked intellectual property chapter would expand the use of "evergreening," a process by which patents are granted for new uses or changes to existing medicines.
Essentially, "evergreening" lets patent holders like pharmaceutical companies "obtain longer periods of exclusivity for just slight changes in existing medications, even if there is no therapeutic benefit," Schakowsky explained, adding that this process "allows monopoly pricing and keeps out competition from generic companies, and drives up prices."
U.S. Rep. Jan Schakowsky (D-IL,9) says Medicare beneficiaries would have to shoulder a severe financial burden if additional means testing is introduced into the program, as some federal proposals have recommended.
The congresswoman on Wednesday jointly released 150,000 petition signatures against means testing Medicare with national groups including the Medicare Rights Center and Social Security Works. The petition calls on President Barack Obama "to drop support of Medicare cuts," according to the groups.
"At least one in five seniors are already cutting back on health care because they can't afford it," Schakowksy said on a conference call with reporters Wednesday morning. "Shifting more costs onto their shoulders is not the answer, especially when there are better solutions."
in Illinois with various medical conditions have had to fork over 10
times more on average than what’s necessary for at least 20 brand name
drugs, according to a report from Illinois
PIRG and Community Catalyst.
Costs for these 20 drugs, including
Lipitor and Cipro, were kept high, because brand name pharmaceutical
companies paid generic makers to keep cheaper versions off the market
for a time. These agreements are known as “pay for delay.”
outrageous that drug companies are paying off the competition to keep
prices high,” said Illinois PIRG State Director Brian Imus in a
statement. “Because of this, people in Illinois pay inflated drug
prices, or go without necessary medication. This needs to stop.”