Biden urges the passage of Build Back Better plan to lower the cost of prescription drugs

Delivering remarks at the White House on Monday, President Biden pushed for the Senate to pass Build Back Better, saying it will reduce the cost of prescription drugs.

Video Transcript

JOE BIDEN: So I'm committed. I'm committed to using every tool I have to lower prescription drug costs for Americans, consistent with the drug companies getting a fair return on their investment. To really solve this problem, we need the Senate to follow the House of Representatives' lead and pass my Build Back Better bill. In addition to the specific progress that the Build Back Better bill is going to make for families facing diabetes, it will also take the additional step of lowering drug costs for people on Medicare.

Right now, the only thing Medicare is not allowed to negotiate-- they can negotiate the cost of doctor's visits, hospitalization, all the rest. The one thing they can't, as a matter of law, they are not allowed to negotiate the price for prescription drugs. For everything else-- doctor's visits, crutches-- they can negotiate. My plan gets rid of that prohibition.

What I'm proposing is that we negotiate a fair price, one that reflects the cost of research and development and the need for significant progress-- excuse me, need for a significant profit, but that is still affordable to consumers. Right now, drug companies will set the price at whatever market will bear. My plan also caps the amount that seniors on Medicare have to spend on prescription drugs each year to no more than $2,000 per year, with Medicaid and drug companies picking up the rest of the cost. And again, our plan says in any drug company can only raise prices based on the rate of inflation, and caps insulin cost sharing at $35 a month.

So let me close with this. I've long said health care should be a right, not a privilege in this country. And the women I've met with today, and millions like them, are the reason why, people for whom the cost of one drug is the difference between hope and fear, life and death, dignity and dependence. We're closer than ever to passing my Build Back Better bill, and providing people suffering from diabetes and so many other diseases the medicines they need and the dignity they deserve to be able to afford them.

This is not a partisan issue. Diabetes, Alzheimer's, cancer, so many other diseases, they don't care if you're a Democrat or a Republican. This is not whether-- it's not about whether or not your loved ones can afford a prescription drug you need. So we need Congress to finish the job, to come together and make a difference in people's lives.

I want to thank both the guests here today for being so straightforward. I mean, we had a good conversation in the office before coming over here. I admire you both. I admire you both. And as my grandpop used to say, with the grace of God and the goodwill of neighbors, we're going to get this done, so you don't have to worry every single day about what you [INAUDIBLE]. God bless you all, and God protect our troops. Thank you so much.


- [INAUDIBLE] Build Back Better by Christmas, Mr. President?

JOE BIDEN: As early as we can get it, I want to get it done, no matter how long it takes.