High-prescription drug prices hurt the black community

Rep. Elijah E. Cummings (D-Md.) | 7/28/2017, 7:02 a.m.
Nearly a decade ago, Clinton Crawley, a Baltimore resident and one of my constituents, was diagnosed with diabetes. Clinton has ...
Rep. Elijah E. Cummings (D-Md.) said that high prescription drug prices have a severe impact on the African American community. Cummings advocates for “The Medicare Drug Price Negotiation Act,” a bill that would help lower prescription drug prices.

While I am disappointed by the president’s silence, I am undeterred. I am still fighting hard in Congress to address this issue. Rep. Welch and I recently joined Reps. Jan Schakowsky (D-Ill.) and Rosa DeLauro (D-Conn.) to introduce the “Improving Access to Affordable Prescription Drugs Act”—a comprehensive approach to lowering prescription drug costs. Our bill would improve transparency in drug pricing and manufacturing; allow Medicare to negotiate for lower prices in Part D and require negotiation for certain high-cost drugs; allow the importation of safe, affordable prescription drugs; help generic drugs reach the market more easily; and cap the out-of-pocket costs for prescription drugs in private insurance plans.

I still hope that we will gain the support of the President and our Republican colleagues on this issue. This is not a Democratic or Republican issue, this is a moral issue. Are we the type of country that values people over profit, or are we a country that values profit over people? The American people have made it clear where they stand. They want Congress to work together to fix this problem. Continued silence in the face of so much hardship and suffering is simply unacceptable.

Rep. Elijah E. Cummings is a Democratic congressman from Baltimore and the Ranking Member of the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform. Follow him on Twitter at @RepCummings.