Details have emerged after a report was released on the investigation into Medicare drug prices. The report “Manufactured Crisis: How devastating drug price increases are harming America’s seniors,” and its findings were released by U.S. Sen. Claire McCaskill, Democrat-Missouri. This report talks about the hiked up drug prices for senior citizens and how it needs to be further investigated. Medications for seniors have gone up nearly 10 times more than the annual inflation rate.
The report stated that “Soaring pharmaceutical drug prices remain a critical concern for patients and policymakers alike. Over the last decade, these significant price increases have emerged as a dominant driver of U.S. health care costs — a trend experts anticipate will continue at a rapid pace.”
The cost of about 20 of the most prescribed drugs for Medicare have gone up significantly from 2012 to 2017 according to the report. The lowest increase being Zostavax going up 31%, to the largest increase being 477% for the drug Nitrostat. Twelve of the drugs investigated, increased over 50% during the five-year time span, while six of them increased over 100%. The rise has gone up so much that some Medicare enrollees are unable to pay for their meds.
The Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America did not agree with the report and followed up with comments reported by CNN. “This is yet another misleading report that ignores the robust negotiation that occurs between Medicare Part D plans, middlemen, and biopharmaceutical companies,” Juliet Johnson, a spokeswoman for PhRMA, said in a written statement. “Negotiated rebates can reduce list prices by as much as 30 to 70 percent for medicines used to treat diabetes, high cholesterol, and chronic respiratory illnesses. Notably, half of the 20 brand medicines in this report are used to treat these chronic conditions.”
As stated, the medicines are used to treat chronic conditions, but the reality is that many seniors need these medications. A lot of Medicare enrollees have some sort of health issue, whether chronic or not that requires treatment and medication to stay healthy.
Juliet Johnson later stated “we agree more can be done to make Part D more affordable and predictable for seniors. One way to do that is to ensure seniors benefit from the significant negotiated savings when they pick up their medicine at the pharmacy.”
The prices of pharmaceutical drugs for seniors has been an ongoing issue, they are becoming more expensive every passing year. It can become too much for seniors to include in their budgets, which can be very harmful to their health. Medicare enrollees can purchase a Medicare Advantage plan or Medicare Part D plan to help pay for pharmaceutical drugs needed. But as drug prices continue to rise, the premium costs will go up as well to pay for the difference.
By law, Medicare is not allowed to negotiate drug prices, which is something Democrats have tried to change for a long time. Some sort of change or assurance must be given to seniors that these prices do not continue to climb and become unattainable. During Trump’s State of the Union address, President Trump states he will fight to make the drug prices go down. This will hopefully put a resolution of the soaring drug prices, and provide relief for seniors.
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