President Trump has abandoned his latest plan to lower prescription drug costs for people with Medicare. And, knowing that the cost of prescription drugs is a top policy issue for Americans, Democrats are speaking out.
Trump had said he wanted to make sure that prescription drug discounts secured by Pharmacy Benefit Managers–the middlemen who negotiate with pharmaceutical companies for lower prices on behalf of health insurers–are passed along to people with Medicare.
Several presidential candidates have plans to lower prescription drug prices for people with Medicare, including Kirsten Gillibrand and Amy Klobuchar. Many plans seek to allow the government to negotiate Medicare drug prices. Of course, the issue with these proposals is that they may drive up prices for everyone else. And, even if they do not, that’s what the pharmaceutical industry will claim.
Some proposals seek to allow people to import drugs from abroad. Millions of Americans already do so. That should not be illegal. PharmacyChecker.com verifies pharmacies abroad from which people can buy their drugs. And, although it is still illegal to import drugs from abroad, the FDA has never prosecuted anyone for importing drugs for personal use.
Of course, importation is a band-aid solution, and we need to lower drug prices for everyone in this country, not simply people with Medicare. A recent Kaiser report reveals that one in 50 people with Medicare are spending more than $3,200 a year out-of-pocket on their prescription drugs, way more than many of them can afford. People with job-based coverage are also forced to spend thousands of dollars on their medicines or go without them.
The simplest solution is international reference pricing, which would ensure that Americans do not pay more than people in other wealthy countries for our drugs. Senator Sanders has proposed international reference pricing as has Congressman Ro Khanna.
Here’s more from Just Care:
- Bi-partisan legislation could reduce drug middlemen profits, but unlikely to reduce drug prices
- Pharmacy benefit managers can drive up your drug costs
- Pfizer, Teva and other generic drugmakers charged with illegally driving up drug prices
- With drug prices soaring, millions buy drugs abroad
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