Welcome to the Week in Review.
- A Lesson From COVID-19 Vaccines
- In response to the CDC director’s concern that drug companies will increase the price of COVID-19 vaccines, P4AD Founder David Mitchell authored a New York Times op-ed explaining how the COVID-19 vaccine story has made it clearer than ever that the government must be allowed to negotiate drug and vaccine prices on behalf of Americans. For decades, pharma has profited from a rigged system that uses taxpayer dollars to fund innovation and allows drug companies to set prices, raking in record profits. This year, we can break the cycle. — (The New York Times)
2. This Is The Moment
- Congress has the best chance in years to pass game-changing legislation to lower drug prices. Lawmakers on Capitol Hill and in the White House alike are strongly considering including provisions to allow Medicare negotiation for drug prices, a tactic with overwhelming voter support, in the next budget reconciliation bill. “We would be missing an opportunity if we did not include lowering the cost of prescription drugs,” Speaker Nancy Pelosi said. Patients couldn’t agree more. — (Kaiser Health News)
3. Coast To Coast
- At a Senate HELP subcommittee hearing on high drug prices this week, lawmakers shared the stories of constituents struggling to afford their medications. Senator Lisa Murkowski told the story of an Alaska patient who saw the price of her inhaler increase in January for the third year in a row, and Senator Tammy Baldwin read a Wisconsin patient’s account of how her high-priced cancer drugs are driving her family toward bankruptcy. Stories like these can be found in all 50 states — everysenator must take a stand against pharmaceutical price gouging. — (P4ADNow)
4. “Not The Life That I Want For My Son”
- On Tuesday, patient advocate Sabrina Burbeck spoke out in support of a package of bills introduced by Maine state lawmakers to rein in high drug prices. Sabrina’s son, who lives with type 1 diabetes, relies on insulin that is priced at $350 per month. “He had to change what kind of insulin he takes based on costs, and has even resorted to rationing vials of insulin when he is in a pinch,” Sabrina said. “No one should have to live like this or make choices like this. This is not the life that I want for my son.” — (Public News Service)
5. Drugs Don’t Work If People Can’t Afford Them
- A new survey found that nearly 4 in 10 Americans have had difficulty affording their prescription drugs in the past year. About 20 percent have taken on debt to pay for their drugs, and nearly 40 percent have had to change their medication regimen in some way because of high prices. We must keep fighting for a future where patients no longer have to choose between risking their health or their financial security. — (GoodRx)
One more thing: This week, P4AD Founder David Mitchell pushed back against the idea that Big Pharma deserves all the credit for COVID-19 vaccines in a Wall Street Journal letter. He breaks down just how much publicly funded research and the government are to thank for the vaccines.