Were the 2021 state elections in Virginia and New Jersey a referendum on Democrats’ delays in passing key promises, like lowering prescription drug costs? Political impasse on solutions to lower drug prices has many Americans angry enough to vote.
Republican Glenn Youngkin won the governor’s race in Virginia, a state that President Joe Biden won by 10 percentage points in 2020. Voter turnout was higher than any other gubernatorial election in Virginia since 1997.
During a debate hosted by AARP, Youngkin expressed an urgency towards lowering prescription drug costs that McAuliff lacked.
“I look forward to undertaking a comprehensive review, taking on not just the drug companies, but all of the players in the supply chain to make sure that we have transparency and much more competition in order to bring prices down and see exactly what they’re paying, but also have choice. As governor, I’ll undertake that immediately,” said Youngkin.
Democratic plans to lower prescription drug costs, as a part of President Biden’s Build Back Better agenda, have been on and off the Congressional negotiation table several times in 2021. An agreement on a heavily scaled back Medicare drug price negotiation proposal was announced late on Election Day.
“Fixing prescription drug pricing has consistently been a top issue for Americans year-after-year, including the vast majority of both Democrats and Republicans who want to see a change because they simply cannot afford their medications,” Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., said in a statement.
Surveys and polls show that lower prescription drug costs are a top priority for voters. However, the Senate’s compromise bill was too little too late.
If Democrats hope to hold their narrow Congressional majorities, lowering prescription drug costs will be key. Democrats have only a five-vote margin in the House and are tied in the Senate. Historically, the party in power loses Congressional seats in the midterm elections.
Passing legislation to expand personal prescription importation would ensure Americans access to drug prices that are often 50% to 90% lower than the U.S. In CPPI surveys, Americans reported saving an average of $2,736 a year on personally imported prescription drugs from certified online Canadian pharmacies. Personal prescription importation cuts out middlemen, delivering the greatest savings directly to consumers. The Congressional Budget Office estimates that prescription importation from Canada could save $7 billion in federal savings over 10 years.
Americans want to see action on drug prices.