Press Releases

Sen. McConnell Set to Side with Corporate Special Interests Over Everyday Americans

Dec 12, 2019

The Lower Drug Costs Now Act would allow Medicare to negotiate annual prices for the most expensive drugs on the market

Senator Mitch McConnell, a Big Money 20 member, has taken over $1 million from pharma corporate PACs over the course of his career

The U.S. House of Representatives today passed the Elijah E. Cummings Lower Drug Costs Now Act of 2019 (H.R. 3), a bill that would lift the ban put in place by politicians corrupted by the pharmaceutical industry to lower prescription drug prices for everyday Americans. While H.R. 3 offers hope to 15 million Americans who struggle to afford the crippling cost of prescription drugs, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) is set to block a vote on the bill. In a Republican-controlled Senate, McConnell has repeatedly sided with corporate special interests by refusing to bring more than a dozen critical pieces of legislation up for a vote.

“Senator Mitch McConnell is once again siding with corporate special interests over the interests of the American people,” said End Citizens United President Tiffany Muller. “McConnell should be working to lower the cost of prescription drugs, and his inaction on an issue that impacts the livelihoods of Americans across the country is shameful. The House has done its job, now it’s time for the Senate to do the same. We’ll make sure Kentuckians hold Mitch McConnell accountable.”

The Elijah E. Cummings Lower Drug Costs Now Act of 2019 (H.R. 3) would empower the Department of Health and Human Services to negotiate annual prices for the 250 most expensive prescriptions on the market and establish a maximum price on negotiated drugs. Drug companies who refuse to engage in the negotiations would be fined. The bill would also put a $2,000 cap on out-of-pocket prescription drugs for Medicare recipients and would require drugmakers to pay a rebate if prices are increased beyond the rate of inflation.

From 1998-2017, the drug industry spent $3.7 billion on lobbying, which is $1 billion more than any other industry. In 2018 alone, the pharmaceutical industry hired nearly 1,470 lobbyists, nearly three lobbyists for every single member of Congress. As their lobbying efforts grew, Big Pharma continued to raise prescription drug prices, increasing the price of 3,400 prescription drugs in the first half of 2019 at an average rate of five times that of inflation.

ECU has conducted extensive polling and research showing that voters across the political spectrum support getting Big Money out of politics. ECU is a traditional political action committee (PAC) with more than four million members, including 29,500 in Kentucky. The reform group is entirely grassroots-funded with an average donation of just $14.

For a full list and additional background on the Big Money 20, click here.