The Newnan Times-Herald

Opinion

Georgia families need relief from Big Pharma’s price hikes


  • By The Newnan Times-Herald
  • |
  • Mar. 12, 2020 - 1:53 PM

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Three of my children suffer from a genetic disorder called mitochondrial disease. Symptoms of mitochondrial disease include developmental deficiencies, problems with muscle coordination, visual and hearing impairment, respiratory issues, increased risk of infection and more.

My family and I have had to contend with significant challenges over the years, including grappling with the out-of-control price of prescription drugs my children need in order to manage their condition.

The price of prescription drugs has put an enormous, and continuous strain on our family, and I know we are not alone. Far too many Georgia families have been burdened by the out-of-control prices associated with prescription drugs.

In fact, between 2012 and 2017, the average annual cost of prescription drug treatments increased 57.8 percent while the annual income for Georgians only increased 9.6 percent. In addition, in 2017 almost one out of every three Georgia residents was forced to stop taking medication as prescribed due to cost.

A poll from late last year shows that 90 percent of Georgia residents report the rising prices of prescription drugs as an important issue that Congress should address.

And while patients suffer, Big Pharma apparently feels emboldened by lawmakers’ inaction. In January of this year alone, drug companies hiked prices on more than 600 name brand drugs by an average of more than 5 percent.

President Trump campaigned on lowering prescription drug prices in 2016 and reiterated his commitment earlier this year. During his State of the Union address, President Trump explicitly called on Congress to pass bipartisan legislation that would tackle the issue of prescription drug prices.

“I am calling for bipartisan legislation that achieves the goal of lowering prescription drug prices,” President Trump said. “Get a bill to my desk, and I will sign it into law without delay.”

There are currently a number of market-based solutions that would address prescription drug prices that have won support from both sides of the aisle in the House of Representatives and the Senate. These solutions include increasing competition, boosting list price transparency, ensuring price hikes don’t outpace inflation, capping out-of-pocket costs for seniors enrolled in Medicare Part D, and disincentivizing price hikes by giving Big Pharma significant liability in the catastrophic phase of Part D.

The nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office estimates these solutions would save American taxpayers and Medicare Part D beneficiaries more than $130 billion and provide savings for patients who have private insurance through their employer.

These bipartisan solutions represent an important chance to deliver real relief to American families like mine who have been burdened because of Big Pharma’s greed.

Sens. Kelly Loeffler and David Perdue, please join the fight with the president on this critical issue. Georgia families need relief from out-of-control prescription drug prices.

Katie McKoy

Moreland, Georgia