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IN THE STATES: Health Experts, Patient Advocates, and Lawmakers Call on Congress to Lower Drug Prices

By August 25, 2021No Comments

Across the country, health care experts, lawmakers, and advocates are calling on Congress to finally lower drug prices for all Americans. Americans pay three times more for their prescriptions than people in other countries, and millions are forced to make impossible choices between affording essential medications or putting food on the table or paying rent. This fall, Congress has a once-in-a-generation opportunity to take action by giving Medicare the power to negotiate for lower drug prices. From Alaska to West Virginia, the following op-eds make clear that Americans of all walks of life are demanding relief from the skyrocketing cost of prescription drugs. The time to act is now.  


(AK) Al Gross, Doctor and Former U.S. Senate Candidate, in the Anchorage Daily News: There Is No Better Time Than Now for Prescription Drug Reform. “The COVID-19 pandemic has further exposed the inequities in our health system, and now more than ever, we must be working together to lower health-care costs for everyone so our society can rebound and businesses can grow. In particular, we should be focusing on and trying to help communities disproportionately impacted by the high cost of drugs: seniors, women of color and even children, as these groups are especially vulnerable to these skyrocketing costs.” [Anchorage Daily News, 6/7/21

(AZ) Iesha Meza, Phoenix Resident and Type 1 Diabetic, in the Arizona Mirror: Arizonans Like Me Are Fed Up With High Drug Prices, and It’s Time to Fix That. “Drug companies like to claim that high prices are necessary to offset the high costs of research and development, and that reforms would harm innovation and competitiveness: but Arizonans don’t buy it. Even amidst the pandemic, drug company profits continued to escalate. Further, as the country reckoned with a racial uprising last summer, it was revealed just how much this underlying price gouging particularly impacts BIPOC communities.” [Arizona Mirror, 8/24/21]

(FL) Janet Cruz, State Senator for District 18, in the Tampa Bay Times: It’s Time to Make Prescription Drugs More Affordable for Floridians. “This is an issue of right and wrong. It’s wrong that Americans often pay three or four times the cost for the same medicines as other countries, and big pharmaceutical companies are still making profits. It’s wrong that Americans have to choose between paying for food or rent, rather than their medicine. And it’s wrong that Americans need to make the life-threatening choice to ration insulin.” [Tampa Bay Times, 7/9/21

(ME) Sarah Lukianov, Bath Resident and Type 1 Diabetic, in the Bangor Daily News: Now Is The Time for Prescription Drug Reform From Congress. “It’s horrifying to know there are people like me who ration their medications to near-death or delay care because the costs are too high. Legislation like HR 3 would help change that reality for millions of people and federal reform is long overdue. With Biden’s support, we can get this done. Now is the time for Congress to take bold action and pass this bill.” [Bangor Daily News, 6/26/21

(OH) Dr. Geraldine Hayes Nelson, President of the Portage County NAACP, in the Record Courier: Congress Must Pass the Elijah E. Cummings Lower Drug Costs Now Act. “If you’ve had trouble paying for prescription medicine for yourself or family members — regardless if you are insured or not — you aren’t alone. Americans pay three times more for medications than people in other countries. As the cost of lifesaving medications like insulin skyrocket, Ohioans face impossible tradeoffs, like deciding whether to pay rent or to purchase the medications that keep them alive.” [Record Courier, 6/6/21]

(NH) Jayme H. Simões, Chair of Protect Our Care NH and Resident of Concord, in the New Hampshire Union Leader: Medicare Needs Power To Negotiate With Drug Makers. “I have met with New Hampshire residents who ration their medications or delay care because the costs are too high. Legislation such as H.R. 3 could change that reality for millions of people and reform is long overdue. Now is the time for Congress to take action and pass this bill.” [Union Leader, 6/14/21

(NJ) Assemblywoman Carol Murphy, Representing Mount Laurel, in the New Jersey Globe: It’s Time for Washington to Make Lowering Prescription Drug Costs a Priority. “The pandemic has been a wake up call and we need to get serious about how we approach public health and what our priorities are. If we are truly going to repair and rebuild, prescription drug costs must be lowered. Democrats are planning to include in their infrastructure deal a provision that will allow the federal government to negotiate prescription drug prices – taking a big step forward in lowering the cost of prescription drugs.” [New jersey Globe, 7/29/21

(PA) Meaghan Reid, Phoenixville Emergency Medicine Physician and Co-state Lead for the Committee to Protect Health Care in the Reporter: There Is No Better Time Than Now for Prescription Drug Reform. “So many of my patients would benefit from H.R.3 and the health and financial security it would afford them. Those personal benefits are evident in the polling around it: Insights from a Gallup survey show the American public supports the provisions in H.R.3 meant to lower the cost of prescription drugs. Separate polling conveys that 93% of respondents — Democrats, Republicans, and independents alike — support giving Medicare the power to negotiate with drug companies for lower prices.” [The Reporter, 7/28/21

(WV) Mindy Salango, Resident of Morgantown, in the Charleston Gazette-Mail: Prescription Drug Pricing Reform Needed Now. “I’m a Type 1 diabetic, and, even though I have health insurance, I still spend about $350 every month paying for my prescription medications, insulin and other diabetes supplies I need to stay healthy and alive. These high prices don’t have to be our reality. In April, Democrats in the U.S. House of Representatives reintroduced the Elijah E. Cummings Lower Drug Costs Now Act (HR.3), bold legislation to lower prescription drug costs for people like me. HR.3 would allow Medicare to negotiate lower prices on behalf of all Americans — not just those on Medicare.” [Charleston Gazette-Mail, 6/16/21

(WI) Anthony Short, Resident of Green Bay, in Up North News: Drug Costs Are Skyrocketing. Congress Must Step In. “No American should be forced to make decisions that harm their health due to the cost of prescription drugs. Right now, we know that too many do. Just three years ago, I had no other option than to ration insulin for weeks as I changed jobs, and health insurance provider…That is just one example of the terrible positions people are left in because of the cost of drugs. Simply put, without insurance, insulin and other drugs that millions of Americans rely on to survive are prohibitively expensive, even for those with a good job.” [Up North News, 7/20/21]