An Open Letter to Democratic Candidates for Congress in Miami-Dade

To: Senator Jose Javier Rodriguez, Representative David Richardson, Commissioner Kristen Rosen Gonzalez, Commissioner Ken Russell, Mary Barzee Flores, Matt Haggman, Michael Hepburn, Steven Machat, Debbie Mucarsel-Powell, Mark Anthony Person, Steve Smith

Since 2013, Miami-based pharmaceutical company NextSource Biotechnology has driven up the price of lomustine, a forty-year-old drug used in the treatment of brain cancer and Hodgkin lymphoma, by 1400%. Robert DiCrisci, NextSource’s CEO, has disingenuously claimed that this is related to drug development costs, but the reality is that the drug in question was developed in 1976 by Bristol-Meyers Squibb: NextSource bore zero development costs for this drug.

This is not the first time in recent memory that a pharmaceutical company has engaged in extortion-based price gouging. The EpiPen has notoriously risen in price more than 500% in the past decade, and Martin Shkreli’s Turing Pharmaceuticals raised the price of a critical HIV medication by more than 5000%.

Congress must act to control price gouging drug manufacturers. Right now these costs are being passed on to consumers both directly and in the form of skyrocketing insurance premiums: when insurance companies are forced to pay hundreds of thousands of dollars for a life-saving drug regimen, the entire insurance pool bears the costs. Earlier this year, Senator Bernie Sanders sponsored legislation that would have allowed the reimportation of drugs from Canada, where a 100 mg of lomustine can be purchased for $54. This and other comprehensive reforms are needed to protect American families from predatory companies that would exploit suffering. As long as these companies are permitted to engage in limitless price hikes for life-saving drugs, they will.

The Board of the People’s Progressive Caucus calls on all Democratic candidates for Congress in Miami-Dade to oppose this predatory pharmaceutical pricing and to join us in asking the State Attorney to investigate whether NextSource has engaged in gouging and anti-competitive practices. We further invite all candidates to present a plan for Federal reform that would curtail these out-of-control drug prices and exploitative pricing practices.

We must end the corporate exploitation of suffering for profit, and it begins now.

- The Board of the People’s Progressive Caucus of Miami-Dade