AAFP Congress of Delegates Supports Legislation To Enable Medicare Drug Price Negotiations

Tuesday, Sept. 20, 2016

Leslie Champlin
Senior Public Relations Strategist
American Academy of Family Physicians
(800) 274-2237, Ext. 6252

LEAWOOD, Kan. — The American Academy of Family Physicians will support legislation that permits Medicare to negotiate drug prices as a result of a resolution passed today by the AAFP Congress of Delegates.

The AAFP COD adopted the resolution after discussions that focused on both out-of-pocket expenses paid by Medicare beneficiaries and potential savings for the health care system. They pointed to data that has shown elderly patients spend up to 37 percent of their Social Security income on medical care. They also noted Medicare Part D would save $15.2 billion to $16 billion a year if it could negotiate the same prices that Medicaid or Veterans Benefits Administration pay on brand-name drugs.

In passing Medicare Part D benefits, Congress prohibited Medicare from negotiating drug prices for beneficiaries. Medicaid and the VBA, however, do negotiate with pharmaceutical companies. As a result, Medicare Part D pays on average 73 percent more than Medicaid and 80 percent more than VBA for brand-name drugs.

“Family physicians see the impact that prescription costs have on our elderly and disabled patients,” said John Meigs, Jr., MD, president-elect of the AAFP. “We’ve seen our patients skip taking their drugs or ration their medications in order to delay the cost of renewing their prescriptions. As a result, they suffer complications of their chronic conditions, a lower quality of life and greater medical expenses in the long run.”

In 2016, Medicare Part D spent $88 billion, nearly 16 percent of net Medicare outlays. Meigs pointed to projections that Part D spending would continue to grow.

“As one of the greatest purchasers of health care, Medicare has a tremendous market presence,” Meigs said. “Their negotiating power could save significant amounts of funds for the system as a whole as well as for our patients.”


Founded in 1947, the AAFP represents 136,700 physicians and medical students nationwide. It is the largest medical society devoted solely to primary care. Family physicians conduct approximately one in five office visits -- that’s 192 million visits annually or 48 percent more than the next most visited medical specialty. Today, family physicians provide more care for America’s underserved and rural populations than any other medical specialty. Family medicine’s cornerstone is an ongoing, personal patient-physician relationship focused on integrated care.  To learn more about the specialty of family medicine, the AAFP's positions on issues and clinical care, and for downloadable multi-media highlighting family medicine, visit www.aafp.org/media. For information about health care, health conditions and wellness, please visit the AAFP’s award-winning consumer website, www.familydoctor.org(familydoctor.org).