June 27, 2000

H.R. 4680 fails to Provide
OPPOSE H.R. 4680

Dear Member of Congress:

On behalf of the state Public Interest Research Groups, U.S. PIRG urges you to oppose H.R. 4680, The Medicare Rx Drug 2000 Act. This legislation fails to provide a universal, affordable Medicare prescription medicine benefit and allows the drug industry to continue price-gouging American consumers. The bill does nothing for the many consumers in desperate need of relief from the high costs of prescription drugs. This legislation will not do what consumers need a prescription drug bill to do- provide universal, affordable and accessible prescription drug coverage.

Drug companies charge American consumers the highest prices in the world. Large buyers of prescription drugs like HMOs, hospitals, and the federal government use their buying power as leverage to negotiate lower prices. But people who pay for their own prescription drugs are paying more than they can afford and much more than they should pay.

While drug industry pricing strategies have boosted the industry’s profits to

extraordinary levels, consumers are being forced to choose between paying their drug costs, taking their full-prescribed prescription, and paying for food and electricity.

H.R. 4680 will not help consumers afford the prescription drugs they need. H.R. 4680 does not offer a concrete benefit, but rather relies on private insurance companies to offer a prescription drug only plan that they have already discounted as unaffordable and impractical due to the skyrocketing costs of prescription drugs in the United States. Further, it follows a model that has already failed the consumers who have tried to use it.

H.R. 4680 is the wrong prescription for American consumers. This bill does nothing to grant relief to Americans being price gouged by the pharmaceutical industry. A vote for H.R. 4680 is a vote for big pharmaceutical profits. It is a vote against seniors and against consumers. This is NOT the serious response that a serious problem needs.


Rachel Weintraub
Staff Attorney



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