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Congress should decrease prescription drug costs for our seniors (visitor opinion by James O’Neal)

James O’Neal, of Harlem, is president of AARP in New York State.

At this time we pay extra for nearly all the things – from groceries to gasoline to housing. As inflation hits its highest charge in 40 years – up 7% final 12 months alone – People are questioning what Congress can do to assist them pay for the necessities they want .

For seniors, the inflation downside is barely getting worse as a result of ever-increasing worth of pharmaceuticals. For years, will increase in prescription drug costs have eclipsed even the very best charges of normal inflation. If shopper costs had risen as quick as drug costs over the previous 15 years, gasoline would now value $12.20 a gallon and milk $13 a gallon.

Earlier this 12 months, Massive Pharma hiked the costs of 800 pharmaceuticals — and so they’ve taken related will increase for many years, with no efficient technique to cease them from ripping off American seniors. Daily we hear from older New Yorkers who’re pressured to decide on between paying for the medicines they want and paying for different necessities like meals and warmth.

Congress has promised for years to decrease the worth of pharmaceuticals. For any senator involved about inflation, reducing drug costs ought to be on the prime of their to-do record. We in New York admire the efforts of our senior senator, Majority Chief Charles Schumer, to advance drug worth discount laws. With inflation at file highs, we want the Senate to ship on Congress’s longstanding promise now.

Not like practically each different nation within the developed world, in the USA pharmaceutical corporations can circumvent negotiations on model title medicine and promote their merchandise at inflated costs – a value paid by the aged and the federal authorities. It’s outrageous that People are pressured to pay 3 times what folks in different nations pay for a similar medicine. Particularly as a result of there’s longstanding bipartisan assist for permitting Medicare to barter decrease costs with drug corporations.

Every year, Medicare spends greater than $135 billion on pharmaceuticals. But the legislation prohibits him from utilizing his buying energy to barter with pharmaceutical corporations to acquire decrease costs. Giving Medicare bargaining energy will save seniors and taxpayers a whole bunch of billions of {dollars}. That is proper, billions.

The US Senate has a historic alternative to lastly decrease prescription drug costs and supply much-needed reduction to New York Metropolis’s seniors. There’ll by no means be a greater time to maintain their guarantees or honest costs for medicines.

For seniors, who take a median of 4 or 5 medicine a month and have a median revenue of lower than $30,000, congressional inaction is unconscionable. Washington cannot let Massive Pharma proceed to tear off our seniors. And American seniors aren’t the one ones with pores and skin within the recreation.

Decrease prescription drug costs may also save the federal government a whole bunch of billions of {dollars}. The nonpartisan Congressional Funds Workplace in Washington estimates that the newest drug pricing provisions handed by the Home would save $297 billion over 10 years, together with $84 billion from rebates paid for worth hikes extreme prices and $79 billion by permitting Medicare to barter drug costs.

American households can’t afford to depart that type of cash on the desk. Massive Pharma has abused senior pricing for too lengthy. This is a chance for the Senate to repair the unfair system that’s rigged in opposition to People. It is time to do it.

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