I am David Bayne, from Conway, South Carolina, and am speaking on behalf of my family who has been affected by the high cost of prescription drugs. 

My wife, Bonnie, is a patient with COPD (or chronic obstructive pulmonary disease) taking TRELEGY, a tier three drug on Medicare’s formulary. Because of the high price, even with our Medicare insurance coverage, we face high out-of-pocket costs. In January of 2021, Bonnie’s 90-day prescription of TRELEGY increased in price from $1,801.54 to $1,896.36, and then further increased to $1,999.24 in 2022. I have constantly shared our experience of high price drugs with my three congressional representatives and have been utterly disappointed that they have done nothing but parrot what I believe to be “Big Pharma” lines and lies. 

Because of the high price of Trelegy, we have resorted to ordering Bonnie’s Trelegy prescription through a Canadian pharmacy in Vancouver, Canada, where we pay an out of pocket expense of $265 rather than the $505.26 out of pocket expense through Medicare for the same prescription. This should not be the case. Americans should be able to access their medicines within the American healthcare system.

My experience with the high price of prescription drugs, unfortunately, does not end or start with my wife Bonnie’s experience. Years ago, my wife and I had to navigate the challenges of our son becoming a paraplegic and our daughter being diagnosed with acute promyelocytic leukemia (APL) which nearly killed her. At the end of our daughter’s cancer treatment, the costs totaled $1.3 million dollars before insurance. After insurance, her expected out-of-pocket costs also put us as a family in a state of financial difficulty. 

There is another federal prescription drug purchasing program. The Office of Purchasing, Logistics and Acquisition.(OPAL.) This program is used by the Department of Defence, VA, Indian Affairs and Coast Guard. I know negotiation with drug companies is an effective way to majorly lower drug prices. That is because the VA negotiates directly with drug companies and successfully obtains steep discounts.

The cost difference to the U.S. taxpayers and patients, prior to price negotiation, are in the hundreds of million dollars a year. These experiences are what have led me to my personal fight in lowering prescription drug prices and contacting my elected officials until legislation is passed.