An organization working to lower prescription drug prices is launching a seven-figure ad blitz that spotlights patients calling on members of Congress "to keep their promises" by supporting a bill that would give Medicare the power to negotiate "lower prices for all Americans."
Patients For Affordable Drugs Now, which describes itself is an independent, bipartisan patient organization focused on policies to lower drug prices, announced on Thursday that its new campaign will run in 42 House districts across 22 states as well as in the District of Columbia. The group says their ad blitz includes TV commercials, digital ads and grassroots advocacy, including patients writing and calling their members of Congress directly.
"This campaign is a clear message to Congress: If you stand with patients in support of Medicare negotiation to lower prescription drug prices, we have your back," Patients For Affordable Drugs Now founder David Mitchell emphasized.
"This issue is a political winner, and we will do everything in our power to ensure members who stand up to Big Pharma get the credit they deserve," added Mitchell, a cancer survivor.
The campaign aims to push back against what it calls the "Big Pharma lies and fear-mongering" in a seven-figure ad blitz by a conservative advocacy group with strong ties to the drug makers, which targets H.R. 3, the "Lower Drug Costs Now Act."
The bill, passed by House Democrats in December 2019, aims to lower skyrocketing prescription drug prices by giving Medicare the power to negotiate directly with the drug companies. It would also make the lower drug prices negotiated by Medicare available to Americans with private insurance, not just Medicare beneficiaries. Democrats said their measure, which was opposed by Republicans and the pharmaceutical industry, would also "stop drug companies ripping off Americans while charging other countries less for the same drugs."
The bill died in the Senate, which was controlled by the GOP at the time. But Democrats campaigned on the issue during the 2020 elections.
It was reintroduced in the House this year, and President Biden has urged Congress to include major elements of the bill in his massive jobs and infrastructure proposal that he’s trying to pass through the House and Senate.
But a major ad blitz by the American Action Network (AAN) launched earlier this month describes the push by Democrats as "Nancy Pelosi's socialist drug takeover plan."
The campaign, first reported by Fox News, charges that the House speaker's "dangerous plan" could mean fewer cures for life-threatening diseases and less access to breakthrough new treatments, like the COVID-19 vaccines. And one of the spots claims that if the Democrats’ bill becomes law, it could send pharmaceutical manufacturing overseas, possibly making Americans reliant on China for their medications.
"The COVID pandemic has shown us all first-hand that we must urgently reduce our dependence on China for medical supplies and lifesaving medications," AAN president Dan Conston told Fox News in a statement. "But instead of learning from these mistakes, Pelosi wants to force us into socialist price controls that will threaten our national security and send drug manufacturing to hostile nations like China."
AAN says they're spending $5 million on their ad campaign in 45 House districts controlled by Democrats.