During a House Subcommittee on Health hearing today, Congressman John Sarbanes (D-Md.) criticized the undue influence of pharmaceutical industry lobbyists and suggested that strong public demand for lower drug prices will eventually win the day.
“There’s a statistic, which I always find incredible, that there are three big pharma lobbyists for every Member of Congress, and so we’re constantly having to fend them off,” said Congressman Sarbanes. “But I want to remind us that there are 750,000 Americans for every Member of Congress. So, if you do some math there, you have to give those pharma lobbyists credit – and I know a lot of them are watching, so I want to salute them for this. That means each pharma lobbyist is holding back 250,000 Americans. That’s what’s been happening over the last however many decades it is because all those Americans want to see these prices lowered, and somehow the lobbyists have managed to keep that from happening.”
Congressman Sarbanes continued: “So, that’s pretty impressive, but it’s changing – it’s changing. And I think what happened is the demand, the desire, the thirst for something real that could help families across the country is beginning to overwhelm the inside game that’s been played for so many years and maybe those lobbyists are going to step to the side a little bit so they don’t get trampled by Americans who want to see a change…. Because so many families out there are affected, and they’ve just had enough, and they just want to see a change.”
Congressman Sarbanes concluded: “We’ve got a lot of good proposals here that really do something real to address drug pricing in America.”