Prescription drugs need to be affordable

Illustration by Dominic Davies

Americans are overpaying for prescription drugs. Big pharmaceutical companies are able to charge whatever price they want. There are generic, biologically similar products, but not for every drug on the market.

Policies need to be put in place to protect consumers who depend on prescription drugs. It is time for the government to reform policies and lower the cost of pharmaceuticals.

This is a serious issue that Americans face daily. The prices of prescriptions won’t go down unless big pharmaceutical companies are forced to lower their prices because of legislation approved by Congress.

Rep. Frank Pallone (D-NJ) proposed a bill to congress — the Lower Drug Costs Now Act, H.R. 3 — that would lower the cost of prescription drugs.

The bill would end the ban on Medicare negotiating directly with drug companies. This would ensure people won’t lose access to their prescriptions, while still creating new policies that would stop drug companies from overcharging.

The top 250 most expensive drugs on the market would be annually negotiated by the secretary of health and human services, as stated on Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi’s website. This will make it more affordable for all people to purchase medications. An “international price index” would be put in place.

The Lower Drug Costs Now Act is supported by Pelosi, who has taken action on this pressing issue. With the recent impeachment inquiry on President Donald Trump, there is concern this bill would be pushed aside and delayed. Pelosi realized this is a top priority for the American people. There is hope that this issue can be agreed on by both political parties. Pelosi stated that this is one issue that the Trump administration might cooperate on.

People who suffer from life-threatening or chronic illnesses, such as diabetes, cancer and arthritis, have no choice but to pay for all the medication they are prescribed. Oftentimes, they simply cannot live without it. The prices for these medications can be extremely high.

Prices of prescription drugs are higher in the United States than in any other developed country. Americans spend an average of $1,200 on prescriptions annually, as stated by The Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development, which is significantly more than in other countries.

There is a strain on people’s lives when they are forced to pay these outrageous costs. People have to sacrifice other priorities to pay for their pricey medications. When there are people who are faced with the choice of whether to buy their life-dependent prescriptions or groceries, there is a serious problem.

The Lower Drug Costs Now Act needs to be a top priority for Congress.

Americans are being ripped off by big pharma, and the government needs to step in and put a stop to it. Prescription drugs should be affordable to all people. This bill is long overdue and should be a top concern.