U.S. Sen. Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, is speaking out after the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services found that Americans pay, on average, 180 percent more for prescription drugs than people in other countries.
The report studied international prices for 27 different drugs. Researchers found that Medicare costs for 19 of the drugs are substantially higher than prices for the same medications in other countries.
“Higher U.S. prices hurt patients and taxpayers alike,” Grassley said in a statement. “There’s no reason that Americans should pay more than anyone else for exactly the same medications, especially since so many of those medications were developed and manufactured right here in America.”
U.S. President Donald Trump last week announced plans to reform how Medicare pays for certain prescription drugs. That includes setting benchmarks for medication costs “in order to even the playing field,” according to a Grassley press release.
Grassley has led several efforts to reform prescription drug pricing in the U.S. He spearheaded the Creating and Restoring Equal Access to Equivalent Samples Act, which would combat “anti-competitive drug prices,” and joined U.S. Sen. Dick Durbin, D-Ill., in proposing legislation that would require drug manufacturers to disclose prices in advertisements.
The federal department recently announced plans to issue regulations requiring pharmaceutical companies to list prices of drugs in direct-to-consumer advertisements.
“When I first introduced my bill last year, what I wanted to do was to give the American people more information about drug costs,” Durbin said in a statement. “More information gives transparency to the transaction. It empowers patients and will help give American consumers a break and start to slow down the skyrocketing cost of prescription drugs.”
A caravan of more than 4,000 Central American residents slowly marching toward the U.S. border has become a political hot potato in the weeks leading up to the Nov. 6 midterm election.
Republicans in particular have leaped on the news story, arguing that those fleeing violence and poverty have been infiltrated by extremists and that their potential arrival in the U.S. is symptomatic of Democrats’ desire for open borders.
In a release to “set the record straight,” U.S. Rep. Cheri Bustos, D-Ill., said, “Washington Republicans have been in charge of the entire federal government for two years now, so it is ridiculous to see them blaming Democrats for what’s happening right now in Central America.”
She added, “Democrats are fully committed to securing the border, but we also believe in helping people who are fleeing gang violence, murder and rape. What we don’t believe in is locking children in cages as this administration has already done. Rather than using this situation for political gain, Donald Trump should work with us to fix our broken immigration system.”
In an interview with NPR, U.S. Rep. Ron Johnson, R-Wis., stopped short of saying Democrats helped start the caravan. However, “they certainly are not helping us change the laws so we can end these (immigration) incentives.”
“I mean, let’s face it,” he said. “Some of them, their solution is supporting sanctuary cities, which is another incentive for people to come to this country (illegally). And a lot of (Democrats) want to abolish (Immigration and Customs Enforcement), which would be completely counterproductive.”
GRASSLEY: CHINESE COMPANY IN ‘CAN’T LOSE’ SITUATION
Grassley said a Chinese-owned pork producer is a surefire winner in an ongoing international trade war between the U.S. and China.
Smithfield Foods, a Virginia-based pork producer, was acquired by a Chinese conglomerate in 2013. However, according to The Washington Post, it still is eligible to apply for federal money through a bailout program created this summer to keep struggling U.S. farmers afloat amid escalating tariffs on exports to China.
Officials from Smithfield have declined to say whether they have applied, but an official told the Post that the company meets eligibility standards.
Last week, Grassley took to Twitter to criticize the development.
“I don’t understand why Chinese-owned Smithfield qualifies for (U.S. Department of Agriculture money) meant to help our farmers,” Grassley wrote. “Smithfield seems to (be) in a ‘can’t lose’ situation (thanks) to American taxpayers.”
BIDEN TO STUMP FOR FINKENAUER
Former Vice President Joe Biden will throw his political weight behind a Democratic challenger for Iowa’s 1st Congressional District seat.
Biden will campaign for Iowa Rep. Abby Finkenauer, D-Dubuque, during an event at 6 p.m. Tuesday, Oct. 30, at Veterans Memorial Building, 50 Second Ave. Bridge, in Cedar Rapids.
Finkenauer is in the midst of a heated battle with U.S. Rep. Rod Blum, R-Iowa, who seeks his third term in the U.S. House of Representatives. The battle of the Dubuque natives will come to a head Nov. 6 in the midterm election.
- Blum was endorsed by the Association of Mature American Citizens, the American Conservative Union and
- , a longtime wrestling coach at University of Iowa and an Olympic gold medalist. He also was awarded the Tax Fighter Award from the National Tax-Limitation Committee.
- Clayton County Sheriff
- and Delaware County Sheriff
- endorsed Republican Iowa Gov.
- re-election bid. She faces Democratic challenger
- , a Republican seeking the Illinois House of Representatives District 89 seat, has been endorsed by retired Jo Daviess County Sheriff Steve Allendorf. Chesney faces Democrat
- in the Nov. 6 election.
- Bustos has been endorsed by the Illinois Farm Bureau. She faces Republican
- in the election.
- 6:15 p.m. Monday, Oct. 29: Candidates seeking to represent Iowa House of Representatives Districts 55 and 56 will participate in a public forum at Central High School in Elkader. Doors open at 6 p.m.