Engel Introduces Legislation to Protect Seniors from Wasteful Drug Spending

Engel Introduces Legislation to Protect Seniors from Wasteful Drug Spending


Washington, D.C. Congressman Eliot L. Engel introduced legislation today to protect Medicare beneficiaries from wasteful spending on excessively large single-use drug vials.


Each year, Medicare and private health plans waste about $3 billion on cancer medications that are packaged in oversized vials. This packaging gives patients far more medication than they need, forcing seniors and others to pay for unnecessary drugs. Many of these same medications are sold abroad in smaller vials, producing savings for individuals and their health care systems. The Recovering Excessive Funds for Unused and Needless Drugs (REFUND) Act would enable seniors and the Medicare program to recoup money wasted on oversized drug vials.


“There are about 100,000 NY-16 constituents with Medicare drug coverage, many of whom live on fixed incomes,” Rep. Engel said. “The reality is that many of these seniors do not have money lying around, after paying for groceries and rent, to spend on extra medication that will ultimately be tossed in the trash. The REFUND Act will put money back in the pockets of seniors and beneficiaries while improving Medicare’s solvency so that it is available for our children and grandchildren.”


The REFUND Act builds on Congressman Engel’s work to improve seniors’ programs. In June 2019, he introduced the Guaranteed 3 Percent COLA for Seniors Act, H.R. 3389, which would guarantee every senior a reasonable Social Security cost-of-living adjustment and an increase of at least three percent.


Engel is a top member on the House Energy and Commerce Committee’s Health Subcommittee.