With inflation at a forty-year high, Iowans across the state are having to make difficult decisions to provide for their families. Unfortunately, prescription drug prices have been rising as well, furthering the burden of inflation on families.
As a physician and former Director of the Iowa Department of Public Health, I know firsthand how vital prescription drugs are to treating infectious diseases, illnesses and injuries. However, as drug prices have increased, people are making trade offs in other spending to afford medications, and often life-saving medication. As pharmaceutical prices continue to skyrocket, we must be persistent in working to make drugs more affordable for those in need.
To combat raising drug prices, I was proud to introduce the Biologics Competition Act, bipartisan legislation with Representatives Greg Murphy (NC-03), Nanette Barragán (CA-44), and Ann Kuster (NH-02). This bill would require the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) to evaluate the process by which interchangeable biological products are approved to be used in pharmaceuticals. This will encourage HHS to expedite the approval process for biosimilar products, which may be used interchangeably in place of more expensive drugs (similar to generic version). Insulin falls into this category. In many cases, these products will increase pharmaceutical drug competition and the ability to use them interchangeably will lower drug prices.
In addition, earlier this year, I voted to cap the price of insulin at $35. Insulin is vital to millions of Americans who have diabetes, and its rising price is forcing many to take less insulin than required to adequately treat their diabetes and prevent complications. However, by capping the price, insulin will be more immediately accessible to Americans treating diabetes. However, this is not the best long term solution and affects only one medication so I am committed to finding additional solutions to lower prescription drug prices.
As a member of Congress, I will continue to diligently work on solutions to lower pharmaceutical prices for Iowans. As inflation rates continue to rise, Iowans shouldn’t be forced to choose between feeding their families and purchasing the medications they need to survive.