Tester: Montanans Shouldn’t Have to Empty their Pockets for Medicine

Senator Holds FDA Commissioner Accountable, Pushes for Solutions to Rising Drug Costs

(Big Sandy, Mont.) – U.S. Senator Jon Tester is holding the top Food and Drug Administration (FDA) bureaucrat accountable for skyrocketing drug prices.

Tester asked FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb if the agency’s budget proposal requests the right resources to address a generic drug approval backlog that has caused financial strain on thousands of Montanans during an Agriculture Appropriations Subcommittee hearing last week.

“Montanans shouldn’t have to choose between buying their medications and buying dinner for their kids,” said Tester, a senior member of the Senate Appropriations Committee. “Folks shouldn’t have to empty their pockets for medicine. It’s that simple.”

Tester has supported and authored legislation to put more generic drugs on the market to increase competition, lower prices, and give pharmaceutical companies fewer opportunities to price gouge consumers. Tester called on Gottlieb to account for a massive backlog in approving generic drugs.

“I’ve held health care listening sessions across Montana and I’ll tell you, the number one thing I hear is that life-saving drugs are too expensive,” continued Tester. “It’s your job to ease this burden and it’s my job to hold you accountable.”

Tester noted that in 2016, nearly 4,000 generic drugs were awaiting approval and the average time it took for the FDA to approve a generic drug was 47 months and asked how Gottlieb plans to address that delay.

Tester has a proven record of fighting to lower drug costs. He has introduced bills and pushed Administration officials to increase transparency in pricing. In addition, he called on the President to work with him on the issue.

Tester has also held individual pharmaceutical companies accountable when they’ve made irresponsible price hikes.

A summary of Tester’s work to lower drug pricing can be found HERE.