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Morelle proposes bill aimed at dropping drug prices

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ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WROC) – Congressman Joe Morelle (D-NY) unveiled a new plan to decrease drug prices, a plan he and his colleagues are calling the “Lower Drug Costs Now Act.”

The bill looks to end the currently-existing ban on Medicare directly negotiating prices with drug companies, a plan Morelle says would allow for more competitive drug prices.

“The fact that other people around the world pay lower prices, says something to Americans” said Morelle, “in that we’re getting gouged because there are price controls in other parts of the world. So we’re going to put an end to that.”

Morelle added he hoped the discussion surrounding prescription drugs takes “front and center” on Capitol Hill in the next few months.

“I’ve struggled, I’ve complained, I’ve called whatever agency I could call to help,” said Betty Donahue, one woman who spoke alongside Rep. Morelle. “It never helps quite enough.”

News 8 reached out to the University of Rochester Medical Center for their thoughts on the bill, and received the following statement:

“We are grateful for Congressman Morelle’s support of efforts aimed at reducing prescription drug prices and their impact on out-of-pocket costs for our patients. In addition, we believe it is important that savings are also realized by health systems that purchase drugs for care provided by hospitals, regardless of the patient’s ability to pay.”

According to Morelle’s office, Medicare Part D enrollees take four to five precriptions per month on average.

“This is so important that I’m hopeful that the United States Senate will take this up,” said Rep. Morelle.

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