For some, it means making a tough choice between paying the bills, or, even staying healthy.
The cost of prescription drugs is skyrocketing every year, and now, one Florida lawmaker has introduced a bill to help.
The idea is to cut drug prices and cap out-of-pocket costs for senior citizens.
Janice Poirier is retired and diabetic.
She says affording her insulin is a struggle, “You want to charge me $863 for something I have to have to keep me on this planet, knowing full well that I don’t have that.”
She says the uncertainty of not knowing how much she’ll have to pay at any given time only adds to her stress.
“I’m almost afraid now to call in my next prescription that’s due,” Poirier explained. ‘Because one month is $33. Another month is $67.”
For others, like Tom Lander, their prescriptions cost them more than just money. “I’m supposed to take Trulicity once every seven days. But I found that I can take it maybe once every nine days … but it’s not the best for my blood sugar numbers.”
Healthcare for America Now Executive Director Margarida Jorge said, “We know that we pay three times more for brand name drugs than what people in other countries are paying.”
But there’s an effort to change that, and it’s HR-3 or U.S. House Bill 3 (2021).
Congressman Darren Soto (FL-09), sad, “The biggest thing it does is it gives Medicare the power to negotiate directly with the drug companies … It also allows for those lower drug prices to be available for americans with private insurance.”
Rep. Soto co-sponsored the bill. He says there would also be a $2,000 out-of-pocket cap for people on Medicare.
But economist Dr. Victor Claar at Florida Gulf Coast University reminds, “You can’t get something for nothing.”
Claar says lowering American drug prices comes with a cost that we’ll end up paying one way or another, “Pharmaceutical companies would have weaker incentives to discover new, cutting-edge pharmaceuticals.”
“We have a lot of innovation here, and that’s a good thing,” Rep Soto added, “but that doesn’t mean we should have your average American and medicare get ripped off.”
Jorge said, “It is long overdue, and we know how to do it right. We know that price negotiations will have tremendous benefits.”
And for many, lifting the financial burden can’t come soon enough.
“They’re just making money off of us, I understand that. But what if you don’t have the money and you need the prescriptions?” Poirier aked. “What are you supposed to do?”
Doctor Claar also added if HR-3 is passed, pharmaceutical companies could also try to fight it in court, which would end up costing taxpayers.