Schakowsky, Doggett, Rooney, DeLauro, DeFazio Introduce Bipartisan Bills To Prevent Price-Gouging, Prohibit Monopolies, And Ensure Transparency On Taxpayer Funded COVID-19 Drugs
WASHINGTON, DC - (June 22, 2020) Today, Congresswoman Jan Schakowsky (D-IL), a Senior Chief Deputy Whip and Chair of the Energy and Commerce Consumer Protection and Commerce Subcommittee, Congressman Lloyd Doggett (D-TX), Chairman of the House Ways and Means Health Subcommittee; Congressman Francis Rooney (R-FL); Congresswoman Rosa DeLauro (D-CT), Chair of the House Appropriations Labor-HHS Subcommittee; and Congressman Peter DeFazio (D-OR), Chair of the Transportation and Infrastructure Committee introduced two pieces of bipartisan legislation to protect patients from being price-gouged on COVID-19 treatments and vaccines developed with taxpayer dollars and to strengthen oversight of federal funds invested in COVID-19 research and development.
The Make Medications Affordable by Preventing Pandemic Pricegouging Act (MMAPPP) Act of 2020, sponsored by Congresswoman Schakowsky, establishes comprehensive protections against drug price gouging for COVID-19 by:
- Prohibiting pharmaceutical monopolies on new, taxpayer-funded COVID-19 drugs in order to ensure universal access to these drugs;
- Requiring the federal government to mandate reasonable, affordable pricing of any new, taxpayer-funded COVID-19 drug used to diagnose, mitigate, prevent, or treat COVID-19
- Ensuring transparency and requiring manufacturers to publicly report a specific breakdown of total expenditures on any COVID-19 drug, including what percentage of those expenditures were derived from federal funds; and
- Preventing excessive pricing of drug used to treat any disease that causes a public health emergency by waiving exclusive licenses and compensating with a reasonable royalty.
The Taxpayer Research and Coronavirus Knowledge (TRACK) Act, sponsored by Congressman Doggett, enables American taxpayers to monitor their investments in COVID-19 research by requiring federal support of COVID-19 biomedical research and development to be maintained in a single database. The database would include:
- all financial and non-financial federal support provided to pharmaceutical companies,
- associated clinical trial data and patent information, and
- full terms of the agreements made between the federal government and manufacturers
“We have good reason to be skeptical about the role of the pharmaceutical industry. Well before this pandemic, we saw price gouging that cost lives. Now, during a global health crisis, many pharmaceutical companies will see another opportunity to benefit themselves by ‘pandemic profiteering.’ That cannot stand,” said Congresswoman Jan Schakowsky. “I’m proud to introduce two bipartisan bills with Representatives Doggett, Rooney, DeLauro, and DeFazio to ensure that taxpayer-funded COVID-19 drugs will be affordable, accessible, and available to all who need them. The Congress must guarantee affordable COVID-19 drugs, eliminate monopolies on these drugs, and ensure transparency for taxpayers who developed them.”
“Transparency and accountability are always vital tonics to keep democracy healthy. Crafting a new, strong oversight tool, the TRACK Act reveals to taxpayers how billions of public funds are being used—information any private investor would demand,” said Congressman Lloyd Doggett. “The MMAPPP Act seeks universal access through fair pricing and open licensing, to prevent Big Pharma from co-opting the fruit of taxpayer investments and charging sky-high prices. Without Congressional action, we cannot know how much public resources pandemic profiteers are obtaining, nor prevent the taxpayers, who are the angel investors contributing billions, from being price gouged for the very pharmaceuticals they paid to develop.”
Congressman Francis Rooney stated, “The United States, and indeed the entire world, has been decimated by the health and economic effects of COVID-19. Affordable and transparent pricing of medications developed to deal with this deadly pandemic is a necessity. Billions of taxpayer dollars have been used to fund research and development of a vaccine, and we must assure that drug companies do not take advantage of the demand for the medicines and vaccines that they develop to bring COVID-19 to an end.”
“As the Chair of the subcommittee that funds the National Institutes of Health and the Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority, I am all deeply aware of just how much money the U.S. government invests in the critical, life-saving biomedical research in this country, and we have allowed the pharmaceutical industry to take advantage of this investment, and price gouge taxpayers. Getting any sort of information from this administration has been virtually impossible during this pandemic, and taxpayers have a right to know how their dollars are being spent,” said Rep. Rosa DeLauro.
“We must ensure that Americans do not pay to develop a remedy for coronavirus only to see it put on the shelves in the U.S. at a much higher price than other nations,” said Rep. Peter DeFazio. “It’s outrageous that there is no adequate law to prevent drug companies from reaping massive profits with drugs developed on the taxpayer’s dime, especially during the COVID-19 pandemic. Our legislation will close the ridiculous loophole that allows for this blatant price-gouging on prescription drugs and other treatments developed by taxpayer-funded research.”
Congressional Progressive Caucus Co-Chairs Mark Pocan (D-WI) and Pramila Jayapal (D-WA) are also original cosponsors of both bills.
The MMAPPP Act is endorsed by Public Citizen; Lower Drug Prices Now; Patients for Affordable Drugs; Families USA; ACT UP Philadelphia; AIDS Healthcare Foundation; the Alliance for Retired Americans; American Federation of Teachers; American Muslim Health Professionals; Americans for Tax Fairness; Arkansas Community Organizations; CASA in Action; Center for Popular Democracy Action; Coalition on Human Needs; Communities United; Congregation of Our Lady of the Charity of the Good Shepherd, U.S. Provinces; Consumer Action; Consumers’ Checkbook/CSS; Equality North Carolina; Faith in Healthcare; Hero Action Fund; Hispanic Federation; Indivisible; Knowledge Ecology International; MomsRising; NASTAD; National Advocacy Center of the Sisters of the Good Shepherd; NETWORK Lobby for Catholic Social Justice; Oxfam America; Peoples Action; Public Advocacy for Kids; Right to Health, Pandemic Prevention Project; Social Security Works; Treatment Action Group; Young Invincibles.
The TRACK Act is endorsed by AARP, Public Citizen, Patients for Affordable Drugs, Health Care Voter, Families USA, Indivisible, National Committee to Preserve Social Security and Medicare, Center for Medicare Advocacy, American Federation of Teachers, NETWORK Lobby for Catholic Social Justice, Project on Government Oversight, MomsRising, Oxfam, Lower Drug Prices Now, Communication Workers of America, Consumer Action, Young Invincibles, Good Jobs First, Americans for Tax Fairness, Social Security Works, and more.
Make Medications Affordable by Preventing Pandemic Pricegouging (MMAPPP) Act of 2020
Taxpayer Research and Coronavirus Knowledge (TRACK) Act of 2020