To the Editor:
Did you know that Medicare is not allowed to negotiate drug prices? Every year, Medicare spends more than $50 billion on prescription drugs, yet it is prohibited from negotiating with drug companies to get lower prices. But it doesn’t have to be this way. The Veterans Administration has the power to negotiate prescription drug pricing. In fact, a 2020 Government Accounting Office study (GAO-21-111) found the VA’s prices were 68 percent lower than Medicare prices for 203 generic drugs and 49 percent lower for 196 brand-name drugs.
The “Build Back Better” legislation has dropped the provision that would have given Medicare the power to negotiate for lower drug prices. This provision would not only have reduced costs for those taking prescription drugs but also for all taxpayers. It’s no surprise that Big Pharma spent millions to stop this plan.
Americans pay more for prescription drugs than do people in most other countries. The savings from negotiating prices could put $16 billion or more back into our communities. The high cost also means that many people face the choice of purchasing medication or food and many skip the medications needed to stay as healthy as possible. One reason for the high cost for Maine retirees is that Medicare has no cap on out-of-pocket costs that Medicare part D beneficiaries pay.
I urge local residents to contact Rep. Golden (1-844-641-0622) and leave a message asking him to stop Big Pharma and support allowing Medicare to negotiate drug prices.
Mary Jane Bush