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Congressman Scott Peters under fire for vote on prescription drug bill

Peters has insisted that he is being "misrepresented" and has come up with an alternate plan to lower prescription costs of his own.

SAN DIEGO COUNTY, Calif. — Americans pay the highest drug prices in the world, according to President Joe Biden, who has made lowering prescription costs his mission. 

Recent legislation that would help achieve that, though, has failed to secure the support it needs in Congress. Some local demonstrators say that San Diego Representative Scott Peters is "stonewalling progress" in this arena.

However, Peters has insisted that he is being "misrepresented" and has come up with an alternate plan to lower prescription costs of his own.

"It is outrageous that we pay the highest drug prices in the world," said protester John Mattes.

"This is devastating," added Nancy Cottingham.

As thousands of commuters headed home Thursday, they were greeted by demonstrators perched on an 1-5 overpass at La Jolla Village Drive, charging that Congressman Scott Peters is beholden to the pharmaceutical industry and its campaign contributions.

"Like a lot of Americans, we're real frustrated when our congress person sells us out to their big campaign donors," demonstrator Thomas Becker added. 

"We should be able to negotiate lower prices and Scott Peters is trying to block that," Mattes charged.

They are referring to Peters' no-vote on the House bill 'HR3," one part of President Biden's comprehensive "Build Back Better" plan.

"We pay the highest prescription drug prices in the world right here in America," Biden said earlier this year.

President Biden has made lowering prescription drug costs one of his primary goals, pressuring Congress to pass this legislation. 

Which would allow Medicare to negotiate prices directly with drug companies and is currently banned by law; would place a cap on how much Medicare beneficiaries pay out of pocket for drugs each year and would impose a penalty on drug companies that raise their drug prices faster than inflation.

Demonstrators say that Peters had previously backed this proposal, and should do so now.

"Instead of standing with the President on this, he is turning his back and it's just wrong," Cottingham said. 

Congressman Peters' office says that his position is being "misrepresented," adding that he has introduced his own plan to allow Medicare to negotiate with drug companies.

Peters plan would include to cap out-of-pocket costs for seniors at a level lower than competing proposals. 

"The other plan being pushed by these protesters has been before lawmakers twice and both times failed to get the majority support needed to become law," said Congressman Peters office. "Rep. Peters knows the urgency to lower drug costs and refused to see history repeat itself."

For more on Peters' alternate proposal to lower prescription drug costs, click here.

To take a look at the specifics of the 'HR3' bill, click here.  

Here is the complete statement provided by Congressman Peters' office:

“It’s unfortunate that the Congressman’s position continues to be misrepresented. Rep. Peters introduced a plan to allow Medicare to negotiate lower drug prices and cap out-of-pocket costs for seniors at a level lower than competing proposals. The other plan being pushed by these protesters has been before lawmakers twice and both times failed to get the majority support needed to become law. Rep. Peters knows the urgency to lower drug costs and refused to see history repeat itself. He introduced his alternative that has a real shot at getting the support needed to become law. San Diegans should not be misled by this group and can go to Rep. Peters’ website to learn more about his plan.”

WATCH RELATED: San Diego's top stories for Oct. 21, 2021 at 6 p.m.