Pelosi Remarks at Steering & Policy Committee Hearing Entitled ‘Ensuring Access and Affordability of Prescription Drugs, While Spurring Innovation’

Dec 2, 2015
Press Release

Contact: Drew Hammill/Evangeline George, 202-226-7616

Washington, D.C. – Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi delivered remarks today at House Democrats’ Steering & Policy Committee hearing on access and affordability of prescription drugs.  Below are the Leader’s remarks:

“I’m going to start as we get seated so we can proceed since the votes delayed us a bit but not damped our enthusiasm to hear what our witnesses have come to say.  So, I will try to follow my own advice, as I say to my colleagues: the sooner we finish speaking, the sooner we can hear from our witnesses.  I thank Congresswoman DeLauro and Congresswoman Donna Edwards, the Co-Chairs of the Steering and Policy Committee, for convening this meeting today.  I salute Ranking Member Elijah Cummings and Ranking Member Frank Pallone of Energy and Commerce for their leadership on this subject as well as Congressman Lloyd Doggett who has been a champion working on all of this.  And we’ve also been joined by Congressman Jim McDermott who is the Ranking Member on the Health Subcommittee on Ways and Means Committee.  Additionally, we have Congresswoman Jan Schakowsky of the Energy and Commerce Committee and Congresswoman Terri Sewell of Financial Services.  And Debbie Dingell – they’re all coming in.  Congresswoman Debbie Dingell of Michigan, a leader on this issue. 

“Today, the soaring prescription drug costs [represent the fastest growing sector] of health care costs in our country – a surging burden on our budget and on the pocketbooks of millions of seniors and families across America.  I’ll be just very brief.  When we passed the Affordable Care Act, the idea was that we would have access and affordability for as many Americans as possible.  The idea was that with our research that we invested in on Rosa’s committee in supporting the NIH the investments there for research and innovation that help in a public-private way to create new drugs – that those drugs would be available, accessible, affordable to the people who had access to the Affordable Care Act and beyond.  That doesn’t seem to be the case.  These high drug costs have perversely incentivized less effective, and often more ultimately expensive courses of treatment. 

“And, again, I’m going to submit my statement for the record so that we can shortly hear and be deeply grateful to our witnesses Lynn Quincy, Dr. Jeremy Greene, Brian Lehman and Andrea Maresca.  We are looking forward to hearing your stories and your solutions so we can confront these challenges.  Thank you also to those advocacy organizations involved in this shared fight.  Thank you all for joining us in striving to improve the health, economic security, and peace and well-being of American families.  And with that, I’m pleased to yield to our Co-Chairs of Steering and Policy Committee.  Thank you.”

# # #