Rep. Cline hopes new bill will help lower drug prices

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AUGUSTA COUNTY, Va. (WHSV) — Congressman Ben Cline and three other members of Congress came together to introduce the TERM Act.

Cline, along with Reps. Doug Collins, Hakeem Jeffries and Debbie Mucarsel-Powell hope it will help bring down drug prices.

When companies make a drug, they have a patent on the formula, which means other companies can't use it. Cline said the new bill is meant to prevent a process known as evergreening, which is when companies file additional patents to maintain ownership of the drug forever.

Those patents mean generic companies can't get into the market. The bill will make it easier for generic drug companies to challenge those patents.

Cline said having competition in the drug market brings down prices. He said those are currently a problem.

"It's my hope that they can get relief from skyrocketing drug prices, the drugs that are so important to healthcare for citizens all across the Shenandoah Valley," Cline said.

Mark Robertson is a pharmacist at Fishersville Family Pharmacy. He said they often use generic drugs at the pharmacy.

'If you can get the exact same drug for a lot less, I say go for it," Robertson said.

Robertson said the bill would be important to him and his customers since they're always trying to save customers money. He added that the high cost of drugs sometimes means people have to make difficult decisions.

"Sometimes make the decisions, do I pay my heating bill, do I pay my rent, or do I pay my drug bill," Robertson said.

Cline said that if the bill passes, it will help lower drug costs and expand the market.

"I think that you'll see drugs hitting the generic market faster, lowering prices faster, and making them more accessible and more affordable."

The bill is bipartisan, and Cline said he hopes it will be acted on soon, so people can see the impact of the legislation.