WASHINGTON, DC — Patients hit by skyrocketing drug prices are speaking out in favor of Medicare negotiation in response to a plan in the House of Representatives that would lower drug costs for Americans through negotiations with drug corporations.
“People are skipping doses, cutting pills in half, choosing between food and paying for their drugs. People are dying because they can’t afford their insulin,” David Mitchell, a cancer patient and the founder of Patients For Affordable Drugs Now will tell the the Education & Labor Subcommittee on Health today during a 2 p.m. hearing.
With drug prices continuing to skyrocket unchecked, three patients shared the impact of the status quo:
Sue Lee, Crewstood, KY, lives with plaque psoriasis: “I have been forced to stop taking Humira after learning the treatment would cost me over $8,000 a year out-of-pocket. I don’t have too large of a savings account and I live off of the fixed income provided to me by Social Security. I can’t afford to pay for Humira under any circumstances.”
Ruth Rinehart, Tampa, FL, lives with primary immune deficiency: “If drug costs were more affordable, it would take such a financial burden off my family. My husband is now also ill, and unfortunately, his drugs are not covered by insurance and so he cannot take what is being recommended for him. All we want is access to our medication without having to bankrupt our family.”
Bob Keller, Parsippany, NJ, lives with Type 1 diabetes: “I wish that my wife could retire and we could move to Medicare, but because of the high cost of medication, that simply isn’t an option. I believe that Medicare should be able to negotiate lower drug prices for their beneficiaries. If they were to negotiate down the cost of my medication, my wife and I would enjoy a higher quality of life.”
Eighty six percent of Americans — majorities of Democrats, Republicans, and Independents — support allowing Medicare to negotiate for lower prescription drug prices. But under current law, Medicare is prohibited from negotiating directly with drug companies on behalf of taxpayers and Medicare beneficiaries.
Nearly 1 in 3 adults report not taking their medicines as prescribed because of the cost. One in four have difficulty affording their medications.
Medicare negotiation would level the playing field for patients and taxpayers and lower the price of prescription drugs.