Congresswoman Kuster and Energy and Commerce Committee Explore Legislative Solutions to Lower Prescription Drug Costs, Address Youth E-Cigarette Epidemic
Watch Congresswoman Kuster speak at the Oversight and Investigations Subcommittee here.
(Washington, DC) – Today, Congresswoman Annie Kuster (NH-02) joined the Energy and Commerce Oversight and Investigations Subcommittee and the Health Subcommittee to explore legislative solutions to lower prescription drug costs and address the youth e-cigarette epidemic.
“Just as we were on the precipice of minimizing tobacco’s hold on our nation’s youth, the tobacco industry has devised a new way to place our kids in its crosshairs,” said Kuster. “Today, e-cigarettes are the most commonly used tobacco product among our youth. New Hampshire is still in the throes of an opioid epidemic that began with misleading marketing and lack of regulatory oversight. My fear is that we are repeating those same mistakes and making way for a new generation grappling with addiction. I am proud to cosponsor the Reversing the Youth Tobacco Epidemic Act of 2019 to address this public health emergency.”
“For too long, prescription drug companies have charged Granite Staters and Americans sky high prices for the prescriptions they rely on,” said Kuster. “No one should have to make the impossible choice between their medication and basic necessities, which is why I am proud to support H.R. 3, the Lower Drug Costs Now Act, to ease the burden that patients should have never carried in the first place. Seniors and families pay too much, and I have long called for Medicare to negotiate the price of prescription drugs. I am excited to see that proposal reflected in this bill, and look forward to advancing this important legislation to lower out of pocket costs for Granite Staters.”
Kuster sits on the Energy and Commerce Subcommittees on Health and Oversight and Investigations. She has previously voiced her support for bipartisan legislation to address the youth e-cigarette epidemic following growing reports of deaths from vaping-related lung disease. In 2018, the Congresswoman called for direct negotiations of drug prices by Medicare to level the playing field and lower prescription costs.
Watch Rep. Kuster speak in the Oversight and Investigations Subcommittee here or read her opening remarks below:
Thank you, Chairwoman DeGette, for holding this critical hearing today. And thank you to our witnesses for joining our committee while we seek answers regarding this public health emergency.
Based on the data, just as we were on the precipice of minimizing tobacco’s hold on our nation’s youth, the tobacco industry has devised a new way to place our children once again in its crosshairs.
As a result, e-cigarettes are now the most commonly used tobacco product among youth, surpassing the rate of youth use of conventional cigarettes five years ago, in 2014. In fact, e-cigarette use among youth doubled from 2017 to 2019 – demonstrating that this is a problem that is only getting worse.
In my home state of New Hampshire, the Department of Health and Human Services estimates that at least a quarter of high schoolers use vaping products, and that number is on the rise.
Our state is still in the throes of an opioid epidemic that began with misleading marketing and lack of regulatory oversight. My fear is that we are repeating those same mistakes and making way for a new generation grappling with addiction.
That is why I am a proud cosponsor of the The Reversing the Youth Tobacco Epidemic Act of 2019, which includes numerous important provisions to curb the rise of youth tobacco use.
With that, I would like to thank the witnesses once again, and jump right into questions for today.