Congress can solve the problem of costly prescriptions
It was a long time ago, but I remember like it was yesterday: My parents were on the verge of bankruptcy as they drained their savings to pay for the health care of my struggling 11-year-old sister. life … disease threatening.
Many years later, families in Arizona still suffer the same fate. One in four Americans report rationing or ignoring their medications because of the cost of prescription drugs, and one in three saw their prescription prices increase in the past year.
It sounds like America’s prescription drug system is broken, but the truth is far worse: It is rigged for Big Pharma to be successful. It’s rigged because some politicians in Washington perpetuated a corrupt deal for years, taking millions of dollars in campaign money in exchange for blocking legislation that endangers Big Pharma’s record profits.
Just recently, Big Pharma funded millions of dollars in television commercials on behalf of politicians, just as those same politicians have said they are opposed to Medicare negotiating lower costs on drug prices. Coincidence? Certainly not.
Our corrupt system scams citizens
This corrupt system means Americans pay some of the highest prices of any country in the world for prescription drugs.
This particularly hurts Arizona.
When I ran for Congress in 2018, I made it clear that I would always be on the side of Arizona families – not Big Pharma. That’s why I made a commitment to never take a dime from prescription drug companies.
I refuse to be a Big Pharma Pawn, and I even took them.
On the House Judiciary Committee, I pushed forward antitrust legislation to promote competition and innovation in the prescription drug industry, prevent price hikes, and make drugs life-saving more affordable.
The entire House passed the Lower Drug Costs Now Act, which would help level the playing field for American patients and taxpayers – but, as you might expect, the bill was obstructed systematic and died in the Senate.
Congress can get a good deal
Now Congress has the opportunity to do something bigger to deliver a good deal to the people of Arizona by allowing Medicare to use its immense influence to negotiate lower prices on life-saving prescription drugs. lives.
It’s a common sense solution that was supported by Senator John McCain and was one of the cornerstones of President Biden’s Build Back Better program before Senate negotiators took it down.
Negotiating drug prices –– and extending those savings across our health care system –– makes sense. This will lower prices for private insurers and employer health care for businesses large and small, and according to the non-partisan Congressional Budget Office, Arizona residents could save more than 50% on some drugs. .
For those concerned about our nation’s budget, consider this: The plan would cut federal spending by $ 456 billion and increase revenues by $ 45 billion over the next decade.
Big Pharma is swimming in profits
Here in Arizona, we pay three, four, and sometimes ten times more for life-saving prescription drugs than in other developed countries. From 2007 to 2018, pharmaceutical companies increased the list prices of prescription drugs by 160%.
And last year, the top five pharmaceutical companies made a combined profit of $ 51 billion.
It is not too late to get it right and for us to change this rigged system for good.
It’s time for everyone in Congress, especially those representing Arizona, to look in the mirror and think about who they really serve.
We owe it to families who are going through difficult times, to those who are forced to make impossible choices – families like mine – to do what is right.
Greg Stanton is a United States Congressman representing Arizona’s 9th Congressional District, which includes all of Tempe and parts of Phoenix, Scottsdale, Mesa, and Chandler.