tv Speaker Pelosi News Conference CSPAN September 19, 2019 11:52pm-12:31am EDT
toasts. our live coverage begins friday at 6:30 p.m. eastern. >> house speaker nancy pelosi held a news conference on a legislative proposal to address the cost of 250 of the most expensive prescription drugs. she was joined by chairs of the relevant community. this is just over 35 minute s. >> good morning everyone. speaker pelosi: good morning everyone. lower drug costs now. thank you for being here. as we know for years seniors and
haveies across america struggled on the skyrocketing cost of drugs. also the cost of drugs stretching financial health and well-being as well. i always said when you travel the country the issue and the cost of prescription drugs are one subject that can make grown men cried. that is not being able to deal with those costs. out-of-control prescriptions is an issue that touches every emily in america. issue beenll a big forward. we don't want a political issue. we want a solution in congress and we want it now. energy and commerce chairman frank pallone.
chairman bobby scott, i want to thank them for their leadership to bring us where we are today. time, i willst of save some of my remarks for later. we will yield to the district was democratic leader of the house. >> i would stay longer but i'm going to testify on a critically important issue for us. we want a strong majority in the house. we campaigned on a promise to tackle issues americans care most about. this is one of those issues. one of the most pressing challenges facing our country is the rising cost of prescription drugs. prices are clearly out of control. we have heard the horror stories of families having to choose
between necessary medication and paying the mortgage. rent or footing -- putting food on the table. is 21st price for insulin times that of australia. 14 times that of the united ingdom and 12 times the cost canada. pay sixd people times more for an epipen than australia and nine times more than the cost in great britain. that is unsustainable, unacceptable. american taxpayers support ,rescription drug innovation americans shouldn't have to pay many times more what people in other countries pay. something needs to be done.
to getts are determined the job done. we are going to do it. there is plenty of room to secure fair prices and protect innovation. threewe are availing hr that will help lower drug prices and hold drug companies accountable. hr3 will advance to committee consideration. the three chairs are with us and they will have a chance to make improvements in legislation to hear from people on their views. i look forward to seeing the progress made. this addresses the challenge with seriousness it deserves. the time is now. thank you speaker for your leadership and the committee chairs for their either ship. thank you very much. thank you for your very kind
introduction. [laughter] [laughter] [indiscernible] >> thank you for your leadership and speaker pelosi, thank you for your leadership on this issue. the labor committee and one of the important aspects of this is what the plan does for employer-based health care plans . employer-based plans spending $84 billion every year hr three addresses this problem by allowing working families with employer-sponsored plans to access the same savings that would be negotiated for medicare.
as a result, the bill will reduce the cost of prescription drugs for workers and free up money for jobs and economic growth across the country. it is good for the taxpayers and the workers and the economy . i want to thank the speaker and all of my colleagues for advancing this to address skyrocketing drug prices. tom proud to yield the floor the distinguished chair of the committee on energy and commerce , chairman frank pallone. pallone: let me just say that i'm excited today because what we are doing can help the average american. i want to thank nancy in particular because of those out to seeys looking
what we can do it not only as democrats but congress to see how we can help people unit their daily lives. drug prices are out of control. that is true. i want to stress the status quo is unacceptable. something needs to be done. we will do it. is druglem right now companies basically charge whatever they want. unless there is generic competition, which we encourage, they basically do what they want and have a monopoly. actuallyr countries have their government negotiating prices on behalf of their constituents and as a result the prices are much less than a lot of the developed countries in the world. we subsidize the other countries , which is wrong. we need to give the authority to
the government. in this case the department of human -- health and human services to negotiate prices. so what do we do? first of all, the secretary has to identify the most expensive drugs for which there is no generic competition, then on an annual basis, negotiate for at least 25. that is the floor. at least 25. and also insulin, which is not part of the 25, but also has to be negotiated. and that negotiation has to prioritize the greatest savings for taxpayers. the top 25 drugs right now have -- make up 23% of the spending
on prescription drugs. this makes a difference. so we say that the maximum price i can be set is 1.2 times the international average market price, which is basically the price if you average some of these other countries that actually negotiate prices. this is going to mean real savings to the average american. i just want to give a couple of examples. diabetes drugulin four more times in the u.s. than canada, the u.k., and germany, and australia. one drug to control asthma costs three times more here than canada and a macular degeneration drug is seven times more here than in france.
we want to level the playing field so the american people have a shot at having lower prices to make a difference. we promise this as part of the deal that is better deal and the energy and commerce needs to begin the process. now, i want to introduce richie neal. all three of us, bobby, rigid, and myself were working to get around this. this will be a joint effort with the speaker and leadership, and we find we are very much on board together in making sure this is a united front. is a moment when i think fact and policy and opinion are wed, and this conversation has on for a longe time in america. we have heard time and again from our constituents that they are treated unfairly high prescription drug cost and that is a fact. we hear this all the time from senior citizens but other
consumers as well about what that they have to budget for these out-of-pocket costs. so today, we are proposing negotiations and another important consideration -- is that we build in compliance we -- and we build in escalator clauses, so there is room for the conversation to be pursued based on the proposal we are offering today. if the companies can perform to the legislative intent we are offering today, they would not have to be fearful of compliance and escalator classes built in. we rely heavily upon the idea that for the first time, that many of these issues ought to be negotiated. this is not limited. i have had conversations with members on the other side. -- the timehis is has come.
andet with the secretary, he was very sympathetic to the arguments we were making. the idea here is the opinion eventually plays out, but you need substantive legislation to make sure that the intent of what we will do with this proposal benefits the american consumer. i think based upon the opportunity their markups will clarify these positions. i think frank and the speaker have outlined our intent. i think it is helpful to the national conversation. we did indicate we would tackle this issue, and that is what our witness here today intends to do. speaker pelosi: thank you very much. now we want to yield to not only a member of our leadership but a member of the energy and commerce committee, as well. >> thank you, madam speaker, and the leadership for bringing us together yet again. here we are months into the new
congress after we've had an incredible agenda laid out by speaker pelosi, one supported by the american people. and hr three delivers on another commitment made by so many of our colleagues as they earned the trust and support of voters all across country to lower prescription drug prices. that's what this bill will do. we are finally getting to date -- a day where we will require the renegotiation of medicare drug prices with medicare. taking those savings and applying them so we can expand coverage for seniors all across america and to get additional care and additional support while lowering the cost for people across the country, as they are having conversations around the kitchen table about what matters most. i'm proud to be here today as a reminder of the work we did in 2018. we flipped some receipts across -- so many seats across the country and exceeded expectations on the number of seats we would pick up.
because the american people want to bring about the positive change, including lowering prescription drug prices. that's what we have enforced here today and we are eager to get to work to deliver this and thank the speaker for bringing this to the stand. >> and thank you for delivering that message for the people agenda by lowering prescription drugs. people say how can healthcare and that issue or some other part of the 2018 discussion. it is because it's what matters to the american people. we had 10,000 events, there were, i should not say we had, but there were 10000 events across the country with people telling their stories. about what prescription drugs was doing to their health, their financial health, but also protecting the benefit of pre-existing conditions, the benefit, which is legislation we
have already sent over to mitch mcconnell. here we are with this legislation. and the ban. imagine, there's a ban to negotiate for lower drug prices for medicare, but as has been indicated by his distinguished chairman and members of the leadership, that will apply to all. make lower-priced drug prices available to all americans. it stop drug companies from up -- from ripping off americans while charging other countries less for the drugs. it's been alluded to by our speakers. the uk, france, australia, and canada and germany are the mean or average of the cost there, but sometimes it's been indicated it takes one or it might be three to one, but
depending on that we have a formulation that it is 1.2 times what that mean or average is. this is a big drop in cost for the u.s. $2,000 cap, and for some, there is no cap and our bill is better in that respect. we look forward to working in a bipartisan, bicameral way on this. there will be an enormous savings. we are waiting for the cbo report to come. jurisdiction on how those allocations will be fit. that money will be used whether on hearing visuals, dental, et cetera whether it's about getting more resources to the secretary's office so more drugs can be negotiated. singh 25 is the floor, we would
like it to be the highest number possible on the highest cost rather to make the big difference in those drugs without competition. it is transformative, so it's a good day, and we think that the choices that were made by the members of the committee, and i commend chairman and members and their staff for the work they have done. my staff, as well, to try to get the most effective way to get the job done, and we do think there could be a strong bipartisan support for this legislation. we will take any questions on the subject. >> do you want and expect white house buy in on this plan, and how closely do you consult with them? >> yes, we do hope to have white house buy in, because that seems to be the route to getting any votes in the united state senate, and certainly we want a strong bipartisan vote if we can in the house and senate.
we would hope that they would support this and other suggestions with the committee process. >> and the president's state of the union address. at the president's state of the union address, he aggressively raised this question in front of the american people, and time and time again, we've been talking to members of the administration, they seem intent on pursuing the same legitimate path that we are currently on. >> in my conversations with the president, there were two subjects on which we think we can have of the three items on our agenda, lower the cost of prescription drugs by lowering the healthcare by lowering the cost of prescription drugs, bigger paychecks by building a structure for america, and cleaner government.
one of the first two i think we can have those corporations, not the third, but on building infrastructure that's another area where we can find common ground so my conversations with the presidents have been about making this a priority and i believe he considers it a good one. i believe we can work together. >> the president has adjusted many times when he describes as harassment. >> excuse me, that is not on the subject. we are talking about prescription drugs. >> he said it will hold up progress. instead a fact a source of hope to the american people that if you reduce the role of big dark money in politics will be able to get gun violence protection bills passed and climate action and lowering the cost of prescription drugs. on the subject -- >> the energy and commerce committee republicans have already criticized this plan, saying they called for bipartisanship, and this is not one of them, but radical and
socialist ideas. how do you respond to that? >> will give you the first answer. -- i will give you the first answer. unfortunately, every time we do something that is a social program that would help the american people, somehow social becomes socialist, and i'm not sure i understand that. the president and most republicans say they want to lower the cost of prescription drugs, and they may disagree on how we do it, but as in the speaker said, as we go through the committee process and we -- process, we have to convince them this is the way to do it. i'm not going to get into the ideology, but i do think that we can get republican support and of course, as the speaker said, the president is very much the key. if he indicates support or suggests it's a good idea that should be pursued, then hopefully we can get the energy and commerce to go along. when medicare part d was
offered a key member on the other side in the run-up said negotiating drug prices through medicare was on american. anybody who follows the forces of the marketplace, competition and negotiation, what gives us better products at lower cost. >> the progressive caucus doesn't like the floor of 25 drugs, they want more than 25. are you willing to change? >> yes, this is more about the capacity to produce a result. to indicate the possible and doable. as i said earlier, if there are more sources that the secretary that i can do more, if i had more resources, then we should make that available, but that's an open point, and we've had that discussion.
first, i thought 25 was all they would do. at least 250, and could be many more depending on innovation bringing to the market place with new drugs that may come in. this is an ongoing process, but i will say that the american people need this. we want to get a result, and we will work together to get the best possible, strongest possible result for them. people also believe what we do at the national institute of health, the taxpayer dollars to have basic biomedical research is the foundation for the -- for how the private sector research goes forward. it's what happens at the nih and the grants they give out -- extramural grants into universities and other entities throughout the country. that is largely taxpayer funded, publicly funded, and everyone in america should have access to the benefits of that research. i want the biggest number we can
possibly get, but i don't want to promise something that we won't have a deliverable within the next year, so again, the committee will decide how to use the additional funding and if that is the answer, to increase the absorbed capacity of the secretary's office to do those, but thank you for your question. >> another point, where they want to keep something in the bill that addresses drugs coming on market, but something in this bill to make sure drugs to come to market. >> if there is no international price, which is often the case with the new drugs, then we say that within the negotiation, the secretary shall ensure that he or she receives at least a 15% discount on the price of the drug when negotiating. there is anticipation.
keep in mind that whether or not some new drugs come to market is largely to be in that 25 were -- where we are spending the most, it is probably not likely, but if it is, we will at least have the requirement of 15% reduction. on the 15%, that's 15% lower. [inaudible] for the introductory price. >> i have heard all kinds of people say how the drug companies will find a way to get around this. someone suggested they will just raise prices in the six countries in the international price, but we are doing our best to make this so that it will save money, and i'm sure someone will try to figure out a way around it, but we will just have to deal with that. >> one thing i'd like to address
with the speaker, we unanimously passed the star act of the ways and means committee. we would like to include the star act, and that was devoted to transparency. >> there's another bill in the energy committee that is about transparency. this is going on to be the basis for discussion, but there will be many thoughts that enter into it that are very positive and transparency is essential issue -- but we want the versions that springing from the members of the committees who have been working on these bills for a long time. i would also like to say that the point you make is, we cannot have the noncompliant be the -- noncompliant fee be the cost of doing business. it has to be an incentive not to go down that path, and therefore
in relationship to what's happening overseas, if it's five times will we pay or two times what we pay, the non-compliance penalty, if they do not go down this path, is something that would be very painful to the drug companies for not coming through. understand. >> it's severe. >> we didn't, but there's a strong enforcement mechanism in the legislation. >> the compliance is like 65% of the gross sales that they negotiate and depending on how long they can refuse -- >> all the way up to the 90's. >> that's pretty severe. >> it goes up to the 90's. again, this is an introduction and so much more will be added in the committee process, and in the public review of it, but we are very excited about it and happy that we can get some help -- some hope to people that help is on the way when it comes to
addressing and meeting the needs their families, and the family health family's financial health and well-being. yes, ma'am. >> you mentioned transparency, what about the idea of reducing the time before biologic can have competition lower than 12 years? is that part of this conversation? >> it is, but it's part of the conversation we are having on deal -- theico usmca. >> what about tpp? that conversation is taking place right now and it is fair to say we are making headway on it. >> what is your timetable for markups and going to the floor. would you engage with the white house trying to seek a deal before you go to the floor, and if there's no deal after a certain time, would you go to the floor anyway? >> in a conversation i had with senator grassley about this he seems intent on proceeding with
parallel legislation, he pointed out that in his legislation that he had somebody can help but a lot of democratic help and that would be a good base center. but it certainly any ideas they would have the secretary passing on those ideas would be helpful to the conversation but we like to start the markup in october. a hearing next wednesday. we want to do this as quickly as possible. >> thanks to chairman bobby scott for the work they've done in experience and knowledge and the knowledge that they always bring to make the decisions that will make the biggest difference -- and we don't call it a deal, but hopefully we can come to some agreement about what is best for the american people. i'm optimistic, and i see everything as an opportunity for -- as set as it is, that we are in the situation in terms of the cost of prescription drugs, it is an opportunity for us to look
forward. and the bright lights that will -- shone on this is important. including the transparency provisions that will be in the bill and we have a couple different approaches to it. but this is, again, a new day when it comes to lowering the drug costs now. overlap in a lot of your skill with other aspects. bipartisan. [inaudible] is there a path forward for you guys? >> absolutely, positively not. in 2006, our agenda was a new direction for america. five of the bills became the law of the land, and one did not. enabling the secretary to negotiate for lower prices. we only could've done it then.
that is the central point. let me repeat what you said earlier. the medicare part about negotiating. >> that was it. you can go back and trace that. it was a subcommittee chair in florida that time, he said negotiating medicare drug costs, the biggest procedure they have for their own audience to set the price with on their own, he said that in that instance, it would be un-american to negotiate drug costs and that runs against the orthodoxy, and i can't imagine those words coming out of his mouth. [laughter] >> thank you all very much. >> madam speaker -- >> you are welcome to stay, but we have time for three questions quickly because -- >> how closely are you following
the situation? what is your reaction to do with the promise the president made for foreign leaders? >> i trust the judgment of our committee chair, adam schiff. he's following this very closely what thispert eye on is and protections there are for whistleblowers and where it is across the line of the conversation the president may have had or may make that the public should be aware of. they're having meetings as we speak. >> this week, corey lewandowski came before the committee, and do you think that hearing was a distraction from the democratic agenda like lowering drug pricing? >> i think what we are doing -- -- we ares legislating, investigating, and litigating, and i trust the work of the committee. >> was that hearing an
investigation? >> i answered that. i trust the committee in the path they are on. >> on tuesday night, have you heard any more since then? mitch mcconnell keeps saying i will move something if we can get clearance from the white house. that obviously hasn't happened. have you spoken with the president? what is your read? >> we're talking about gun safety now, but let me just say senator mcconnell says that about every subject, whether we are talking about the cr, so that we can take it up today and we understand the senate will accept the cr that we send over there, whether it's negotiating what comes next in terms of appropriations to continue to keep government open, and the
leader will just say, "i will i'm doing for the president wants." that is to abdicate your role as a leader in article one, the first branch of government. yes, we all want to together to have the most sustainability for what we do, and the president's signature is an important part of that, but to say we won't even make a suggestion that we will not represent where we are representative. -- he president says and so are the senators and the point to deal with 90% of the american people support hrh background checks, responsible background checks legislation. the president says he wants to do it and let's hope he does. we've heard some stats that -- stats that they're working on
it and he will call us when they're ready but we have not heard directly from the president. you want me to tell you what goes on with the president's mind? i did that. we characterized it into the conversation and i told the president as always i pray for him. i pray for him and for the safety and the safety of his family and i pray that he will open his heart to the safety of america's families as well by giving his approval on hr eight gun legislation, which is supported by 90% of the american people, democrats and republicans, independents, gunowners, nra members, veterans and collectors, hunters and the rest. i don't know what is holding the president up on it. i know he's busy, and we hope to hear from him soon, but i will say to the people i work with and the grassroots movement, it
is not just about guns, it is about the grim reaper said he will stop all legislation that goes over there. so if you care about gun safety and saving the lives of our children, call mitch mcconnell. if you hear about raising the minimum wage, if you care for equal pay, call mitch mcconnell netif you care about neutrality, call mitch mcconnell. action, violence against women, call mitch mcconnell. the list goes on and on. he's holding up so much legislation. with priorities which had bipartisan support in the public and went looking for a fight, but for a results and we sent over many other pieces of legislation that pertained to lowering the cost of healthcare in our country, call mitch mcconnell. the list goes on and on. this is not even obstruction, but it's just abandonment of the responsibility as a leader in the senate of the united states.
one more. on hr 8, the attorney general floated a proposal in senate yesterday that did not include hr eight but included the mentioned to me bill, and it would not cover private sales. i'm wondering if that is the way the president and the senate go it would be amenable to you in the house. >> we are for hr eight is very carefully constructed legislation that will save lives. one of the recent mass murders was by someone ready purchase and that means i can't pass a test and you can and you buy the gun and i buy it from you and that is a dangerous dynamic to have so were here for hr eight. -- so we are for hr eight. the imagination did not embrace what was said in the senate and they disassociated themselves. >> but they are unlikely to go beyond hr eight.
>> that may weigh in, but we must make progress on this, and i told the president in friendship for the children, we are not go away. we're not going away and so we will have background checks to save lives of the american people. thank you all very much. [indistinct chatter] washingtonc-span's journal live every day with news and policy issues that impact you. we will discuss the house
oversight committee investigation with arizona republican representative. join the discussion. announcer: live friday on the c-span network, the house returns at 9:00 a.m. eastern to take up legislation on forced arbitration on c-span. 6:30 p.m., the dennis ross trillion prime minister scott morrison. on c-span2 at 12:30, a climate rally in coordination with worldwide climate strikes to them lawmakers take action to address climate change. anouncer: kevin mccarthy held news conference to respond to a democratic proposal that would address the cost of prescription drugs. he was joined by several republican colleagues. this is ab