California Patient Testimony Exposes Big Pharma Tactics that Keep Drug Prices High

SACRAMENTO — A California grandmother plans to stand up to Big Pharma at a state senate hearing Wednesday, sharing her story about unaffordable prescription drugs and speaking in favor of AB 824 — a first-in-nation bill that would end a drug company tactic used to block lower-priced generic competition.

Karen MacEdon, a Sacramento waitress who lives with asthma and type 2 diabetes, will tell the Senate Health Committee, “Not a day goes by when I don’t think about the impact these conditions have on my life and the growing burden of paying for the medications that treat them.”

Karen’s diabetes medication costs more than $800 a month. There is no generic option.

AB 824, legislation introduced by Assemblymember Jim Wood (D-Santa Rosa) and sponsored by state Attorney General Xavier Becerra, would make illegal a Big Pharma scheme called “pay-for-delay,” in which a brand drug maker pays a generic manufacturer not to bring a competitive product to market, driving big drug company profits and hurting patients waiting for less-expensive prescription drugs.

MacEdon’s testimony will be delivered on Wednesday, July 3 before the Senate Health Committee at 1:30 PM.

Key points from Karen MacEdon’s prepared remarks:

  • “To help manage my diabetes, my doctor prescribed a drug called Bydureon....I can’t afford it. So I’m forced to rely on samples from my doctor. I am grateful for these samples, but I know I cannot depend on them forever. And I’m terrified for the day when they’ll run out.”

  • “And Pay-For-Delay deals — like the one my drug’s manufacturer has entered into before — are driving up costs by holding back generics from the market. This committee can change that.”

  • I urge you to vote YES for this billdrugs don’t work if people can’t afford them.