Op-Ed: Americans need to take action on skyrocketing drug prices

The Philadelphia Tribune - CSRxP

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  • Date

     July 23, 2016

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The Philadelphia Tribune
July 23, 2016
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As both political parties are completing the process of selecting their presidential candidates, we have a unique opportunity to draw attention to issues affecting all Americans. One topic so far overshadowed by the horse race election coverage is the skyrocketing cost of medicine.

Out-of-control prices for prescription drugs are steadily bankrupting our healthcare system. Price hikes are putting treatment out of the reach of too many people, as well as raising health insurance premiums for all of us. And the rising costs are stealing from our state and federal healthcare programs, including Medicare.

This crisis is not the result of normal market forces—it’s clear evidence of market manipulation. When predatory companies can target treatments that are the only option for vulnerable patients, buy up the production, and then raise costs 5,000 percent overnight, something is very wrong.

The unjust escalation in drug costs has heartbreaking consequences. When patients are financially compelled to skip doses, cut pills, or avoid treatment altogether, they often suffer the consequences of less effective treatment. Symptoms come raging back and prevent them from engaging in daily activities. Disease progresses faster and complications arise.

The repercussions extend beyond the patients themselves. A recent report on drug trends found that not taking medicine as prescribed – simply because patients cannot afford to take them – costs taxpayers about $330 billion annually in preventable medical complications.

Clearly, growing spending on drug prices is not sustainable for our communities, our economy, or our country.

Every voter should make it clear to their Representative, Senators, and choice of Presidential candidate that they expect swift, effective change to address the drug cost crisis—and that they will hold them accountable for delivering.