Congressman Jim Cooper

Representing the 5th District of Tennessee
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Cooper Supports Bill to Prevent Excessive Drug Price Increases

Sep 22, 2016
Press Release

WASHINGTON – U.S. Rep. Jim Cooper (TN-5) and other members of the Blue Dog Coalition this week endorsed a bill that could prevent dramatic drug price hikes seen recently with the EpiPen and other medicines.

Cooper is a cosponsor of the Lower Drug Costs Through Competition Act. The bill would help streamline the FDA approval process on generic drugs. It also would encourage competition by providing incentives for more generic drugs to come to the market.

“The U.S. has some of the highest prescription drug costs in the world. And that’s before companies jack up prices or use shadow pricing techniques for life-saving medicine,” Rep. Cooper said. “We’re just not getting a good deal, and Congress has been dragging its feet for years. People should get the best possible price for prescription drugs. They shouldn’t be denied access to medicine that may save their lives.”

Turing Pharmaceuticals CEO Martin Shkreli raised the price of a life-saving drug by more than 5,000 percent. Meanwhile, Mylan, the lone manufacturer of the popular EpiPen, raised the price of that drug by more than 400 percent, lifting the price to about $600 per pack.

While Mylan purchased the rights to EpiPen about a decade ago, the EpiPen itself is off-patent. That means generic equivalents are allowed to come to the market, but two generic drugs have been stymied by the pricey and lengthy FDA application process.

The Lower Drug Costs Through Competition Act would require action on applications to market generic drugs within six months of submission when there is no equivalent generic available, or for drugs on the drug shortage list. It also creates incentives for pharmaceutical companies to develop more generic drugs.