Welcome to the Week in Review.
1. The Ploy To Keep Prices High
- A new report from P4AD details how the drug companies behind Eliquis and Xarelto, two blood thinners used by millions of patients, have raised their prices in lockstep over the past decade to avoid competition and extract increasing profits from patients and taxpayers. The two drugs, currently each priced at over $500 for a monthly supply, would have a list price of about $300 if price hikes had been held to the rate of inflation. Eliquis and Xarelto are now two of the three most costly drugs for Medicare, and their high prices are directly harming patients. “I’ve had to spend my entire paycheck to get my prescription drugs,” said Ashley Suder, a lupus patient who takes Eliquis to prevent blood clots. “I often worry about how I’ll make ends meet while still affording my drugs. Without them, my life would be at real risk! It’s no way to live, but I don’t have a choice.” — (Axios)
2. “We Have To Do This”
- This week, President Biden, Vice President Harris, and senators called on Congress to lower drug prices by allowing Medicare to negotiate. Seniors have been feeling the pain of high drug prices for too long — a recent study found that 30 percent of Medicare beneficiaries who did not receive low-income subsidies for their cancer medications skipped out on filling their prescriptions. The Senate has the opportunity to rein in these prices by passing the package of drug pricing reforms under consideration now. As President Biden says, “We can do this. We should do this. We have to do this.” — (P4ADNow, P4ADNow, KRNV, The Franklin Journal, Health Affairs)
3. The Case For Medicare Negotiation
- In opinion pieces this week, patient advocates shared their families’ experiences with high drug prices and explained why Medicare must be allowed to negotiate. “It is obviously obscene to charge Americans so much more than in other countries, especially since drug manufacturers make profits in every country. It is ridiculous that the government cannot negotiate prices,” writes Virginia advocate Patricia Smith. “Without negotiations that actually stop the drug corporations from charging whatever they want and raising prices at will, cost containment can only have limited impact for a limited number of patients while burdens continue to rise for taxpayers, businesses, and those paying premiums,” explains Jamie Tadrzynski, who lives with type 1 diabetes. “The drug-pricing reforms the Senate is currently considering would deliver meaningful relief to patients like me, while still rewarding innovation,” shares Kris Garcia, who lives with multiple health conditions, including bleeding disorders. — (The Free Lance-Star, Las Vegas Sun, The Colorado Sun)