My name is Janet Schwartz, and I’m a retired nurse from Newark, DE. I’m 74 years old and was finally diagnosed with multiple sclerosis at 59 years old after experiencing symptoms, like nerve and joint pain, for a very long time.
The price of my medications has tarnished what are supposed to be my golden years.
For several years, I was forced to rely on grants to afford Tecfidera, which carries a list price of over $8,200 per month. However, I haven’t had this medication for nearly a year because the drug maker now says there are no grants. It’s frustrating because I loved this medication. It drastically improved my quality of life and my symptoms. Now I’m no longer taking the medication, I’ve experienced intense hot flashes, leg spasms, double vision, brain fog, and chronic pain. I’m ready to give up.
I also have type 2 diabetes and was forced to stop taking Trulicity because $200 a month was too much for me. I’m on another drug for the condition, but it doesn’t work as well at all. The switch also costs me time. I have to monitor my blood sugars extremely closely on this less-effective drug.
It is all so difficult to live with.
My lawmakers should know I live on Social Security — $1,600 a month. I would like to ask them how they’d feel if their mother or sister or someone in their family needed medications and couldn’t afford them? Medications should be for everybody, not just people who can afford it.
I have adult children and I don’t want them to have to pay for my drugs and worry about me. I didn’t have children because I wanted to be taken care of in my old age. I just want them to be happy. I just want to afford my prescription drugs.
DELAWARE — As Congress works on a budget plan that includes giving Medicare the power to negotiate lower prescription drug prices, a new project shows the overwhelming, bipartisan support for this reform across Delaware.
The findings are part of a new website and interactive map showing support for district-by-district and state-by-state data. Delaware lawmakers and constituents can now find the level of backing for Medicare negotiation, opinions about pharmaceutical companies, concerns about Congress failing to act, and belief in pharma’s top arguments. The project was conducted by Data for Progress on behalf of Protect Our Care and Patients For Affordable Drugs Now.
The model shows that:
The Delaware data were determined using a large national sample of more than 4,000 likely voters and a sophisticated computer modeling program. Using the large sample combined with voter profiles, support levels have been modeled for all 50 states and 435 congressional districts, including Delaware, and can be viewed here. The Data for Progress team used advanced modeling techniques known as MRP (multilevel regression with poststratification) to estimate support at the congressional district and state level. More on methodology can be found on the website.
“This issue has been litigated in the court of public opinion for years now, and even in the midst of a pandemic, voters are clear: They want Medicare to negotiate lower prices on behalf of Americans,” said David Mitchell, a patient with an incurable blood cancer whose drugs carry a list price of more than $900,000 per year and founder of Patients For Affordable Drugs Now. “Patients and consumers are hurting, too often having to choose between paying outrageous prices for their drugs or covering costs of other necessities. We support Congress and the Biden administration as they act to end this injustice in America.”
“Americans pay more for prescription drugs than anyone in the world. Big Pharma’s greed knows no bounds, and Americans from all walks of life are hurting from skyrocketing costs,” said Protect Our Care Executive Director Brad Woodhouse. “The new polling from Data for Progress confirms that voters are fed up with the status quo and demanding action from their elected officials. It is imperative that Congress give Medicare the power to negotiate for lower drug prices for all Americans — any lawmaker that tries to stand in the way is on the wrong side of this issue and on the wrong side of their constituents.”
“These numbers make it abundantly clear that voters want prescription drug price reforms,” said Sean McElwee, Executive Director at Data for Progress. “With strong support for allowing Medicare to negotiate to lower drug prices and the belief among voters that prescription drug prices are unreasonable, it’s clear that Congress must act to make these changes.”
Nationwide, the survey found that by more than a 2-to-1 margin, voters are more concerned that Congress won’t do enough to rein in the cost of prescription drugs than that Congress will go too far in restraining prices.
This new poll comes as the Senate Finance Committee is drafting legislation that would allow Medicare to negotiate, which would deliver on the president’s Build Back Better plan. The House of Representatives will begin marking up the reconciliation package, including a version of its Medicare negotiation legislation, H.R. 3, this week.
My name is Vanessa Ladson and I’m from Dover, DE. I need to take 12 medications a day to manage multiple conditions, including fibromyalgia and lupus, which is an autoimmune disease where my body’s immune system attacks healthy tissue. To manage these conditions, I need the drugs Plaquenil and gabapentin. I also take an incredibly pricey medication called Eliquis, which prevents blood clots. These three key medications cost me up to $500 out-of-pocket each month. These prices create an incredible financial strain as my income from Social Security and a small retirement fund is only $2,100 a month.
My husband also lives with prostate cancer and is prescribed the drug Xtandi. He gets some assistance, but it’s horrible to think of what would happen if it were to go away.
Both of us are on Medicare. At times, it feels like I’m robbing Peter to pay Paul to afford my medications. I’ve had to ask my grown children for help in order to afford my prescriptions at times, which I hate having to do.
I have to scrimp and save to afford to eat. But I know other senior citizens who are much worse off — some are even eating cat food to be able to afford their drugs. But it’s a catch-22: If they don’t eat, they’ll die, and if they don’t have their medications, they die. My husband and I try to help by making them food when we can.
I’ve been depressed living with these physical conditions and dealing with all these high prices at the same time. Simply put, I don’t live the kind of life I want to live. With multiple conditions, I already live with uncertainty as to the type of pain I might face day to day. I should be able to afford medicines without so much worry on top of my illnesses and symptoms.
Other countries help out their seniors. As the richest country in the world, the United States should be able to take care of us. We need to let Medicare negotiate for the prices of our medications like other wealthy nations do.
DELAWARE — Nearly 40 labor, business, consumer, and health care organizations sent a letter this week calling on Congress to pass legislation to allow Medicare to negotiate lower drug prices. The letter praises H.R. 3, the House bill that would allow Medicare to negotiate drug prices, as well as Senate Finance Committee Chairman Ron Wyden’s recent guiding principles for drug pricing reform, which are expected to be considered for inclusion in the Democrats’ reconciliation budget package later this year.
“We hope, as a member of the Senate Finance Committee, Senator Carper recognizes that major labor, business, consumer, and health care groups in this nation all agree that Medicare must have the ability to negotiate lower drug prices for Americans,” said David Mitchell, a cancer patient and founder of Patients For Affordable Drugs Now. “Nine out of 10 Americans support this policy. We are calling on Senator Carper to stand with patients against Big Pharma’s lobbying machine.”
Big Pharma has been spreading lies to try to stop drug pricing reform from moving forward — the pharmaceuticals and health products industry spentabout $92 million on lobbying in the first quarter of the year, more than any other industry.
The letter, addressed to Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, Speaker Nancy Pelosi, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, and House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, asks them to:
“This year provides the best opportunity in decades to pass legislation to allow Medicare to negotiate lower drug prices and bring meaningful relief to millions of Americans who struggle to afford their prescription drugs,” Mitchell continued. “As President Biden said, ‘Let’s do it now.’”
Patients For Affordable Drugs Now is one of nearly 40 organizations that signed onto the letter, which was led by Families USA. In an effort to pass legislation to allow Medicare to negotiate, P4ADNow recently launched a campaign calling on Senator Carper to support policy reform that would bring relief to Delawareans.
DELAWARE — Patients For Affordable Drugs Now launched a campaign encouraging Senator Tom Carper (D-DE) to support legislation to lower drug prices by allowing Medicare negotiation. The push began on July 2 and includes TV ads, digital ads, and grassroots advocacy, in which patients will write and call Senator Carper directly.
“In the last year, 1 out of 4 Delaware families could not afford their prescription medications,” said David Mitchell, a cancer patient and founder of Patients For Affordable Drugs Now. “Delawareans are depending on Senator Carper to help by ensuring Medicare can negotiate lower drug prices.”
Senate Finance Committee Chairman Ron Wyden recently released his guiding principles for drug pricing reform. It is expected that the Finance Committee’s bill will be considered for inclusion in the Democrats’ reconciliation budget package later this year.
“As the Senate Finance Committee develops detailed legislative proposals, we need Senator Carper to lead on drug pricing reform that will deliver the innovation patients need at prices we can afford. We can have both,” Mitchell continued.
The campaign includes a new video ad featuring multiple sclerosis patient and registered nurse Therese Ball from Ogden Dunes, Indiana. To manage her symptoms, Ball is prescribed Tysabri, which is priced at $7,463 each month.
“As a nurse, I had patients who struggled to pay for their prescription drugs. When I was diagnosed with MS, I became one, too. The medications I need to live are priced at over $7,000 every month,” Ball, a grandmother and retired nurse, says in the video ad. “I can’t afford these prices. I had to ration and skip doses.”
“Congress is working to let Medicare negotiate lower drug prices. Ninety percent of Americans support it, and Senator Carper should, too,” the ad says. “Patients need this reform, and we need his support.”
Watch the full video ad here and view the static ad below.
The Delaware campaign is part of a national campaign calling on two key members of the Senate Finance Committee urging them to support legislation to allow Medicare to negotiate drug prices. In addition to Senator Carper, the campaign calls on support for Medicare negotiation from Senator Bob Menendez (D-NJ).
This campaign marks the launch of P4ADNow’s outreach to senators in the 117th Congress. It complements the patient advocacy group’s House campaign to support H.R. 3 first launched on May 20 with a seven-figure budget to 42 House districts across 22 states and in D.C, which then expanded last week to add two more House districts. This campaign is, in part, a counterweight to Big Pharma’s attack ads loaded with lies about H.R. 3 and included video ads, digital ads, and grassroots advocacy.