Latest News | Jun 30, 2021

Patients For Affordable Drugs Now Extends Campaign Thanking Rep. Carolyn Bourdeaux For Supporting Medicare Negotiation Bill H.R. 3 To Lower Drug Prices

GEORGIA — Patients For Affordable Drugs Now announced it will extend its campaign thanking Rep. Carolyn Bourdeaux (GA-07) for supporting H.R. 3, a bill that would lower drug prices by allowing Medicare to negotiate on behalf of Georgians. The new phase of the campaign will start July 2 and will include digital video ads as well as grassroots advocacy, in which patients will contact Rep. Bourdeaux directly to thank her for standing with patients against Big Pharma. 

“H.R. 3 will ensure Georgians have access to affordable medicine while protecting innovation for the future,” said David Mitchell, a cancer patient and founder of Patients For Affordable Drugs Now. “On behalf of patients, we thank Rep. Bourdeaux for standing up to Big Pharma and fighting to pass this important legislation to lower the price of prescription drugs.”

The expanded push will include a new video ad highlighting Steven Hadfield, a patient from Charlotte, North Carolina, who lives with a rare blood cancer and is prescribed a medication priced at $132,000 a year. The ad thanks Rep. Bourdeaux for supporting H.R. 3 and urges constituents to ask her to keep fighting for lower drug prices. 

“I’ve been fighting it for seven years,” Steven says in the ad playing on digital platforms. “$132,000. That’s the annual price for my cancer medication. I live in fear over my high drug prices. You wonder how everybody else survives.”

You can watch the ad here

P4ADNow’s campaign to support H.R. 3 was first launched on May 20 on the heels of Big Pharma’s attack ads loaded with lies, pressuring members of Congress not to support H.R. 3. 

H.R. 3, the Elijah E. Cummings Lower Drug Costs Now Act, was reintroducedin the House of Representatives in April. The chamber passed the bill in the 116th Congress. It will lower prices, rein in price gouging, and reduce out-of-pocket costs by restoring balance to the U.S. drug pricing system to ensure both innovation and affordability.

The Georgia campaign is part of Patients For Affordable Drugs Now’s national campaign across 44 House districts.

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GEORGIA Patients For Affordable Drugs Now kicks off a campaign today thanking Rep. Carolyn Bourdeaux (GA-07) for supporting H.R. 3, the Elijah E. Cummings Lower Drug Costs Now Act, a package of drug pricing reforms that includes allowing Medicare to negotiate for lower prices for Georgians. The campaign includes TV and digital ads as well as grassroots advocacy, in which constituents will contact Rep. Bourdeaux to thank her for fighting for patients. The campaign comes after Big Pharma launched attack ads loaded with lies, pressuring Rep. Bourdeaux not to support H.R. 3.

“Big Pharma is trying to get Rep. Bourdeaux to bow to its power with lies and fear-mongering. But she is standing strong to win reforms that will lower the outrageous prices of prescription drugs,” said David Mitchell, a cancer patient and founder of Patients For Affordable Drugs Now. “Thanks to Rep. Bourdeaux’s leadership, we can pass H.R. 3 to ensure we get affordable medicines we need now and innovation for the future.”
 
The campaign includes an ad highlighting patient advocate Marcus LaCour, who lives with type 1 diabetes. The ad will run on a combination of TV and digital platforms in Georgia’s seventh district.
 
You can watch the ad here.
 
“I was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes at 15 years old. Because insulin is so expensive, I’ve had to skip and ration my doses. My wife has had to skip meals so that we could afford the insulin that I needed to survive,” LaCour, a Cincinnati husband, father, minister, and drug affordability advocate says in the video ad. “No family should have to make that decision. For millions of Americans, it’s serious enough that we need help.”
 
H.R. 3 was recently reintroduced in the House of Representatives. The chamber passed the bill in the 116th Congress. H.R. 3 is a comprehensive bill that will lower prices, rein in price gouging, and reduce out-of-pocket costs by restoring balance to the U.S. drug pricing system to ensure both innovation and affordability.
 
The Georgia campaign is part of Patients For Affordable Drugs Now’s seven-figure national campaign launching in 42 House districts across 22 states and in D.C.

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My name is Ronnie Rountree and I’m from Waycross, Georgia. Every 90 days, I owe $450 for 11 medications to treat the five conditions I live with: glaucoma, atrial fibrillation, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and arthritis. Including the Social Security and pension I receive from the state of Georgia, my income is about $2,500 a month. So $450 is a big financial stretch for a retiree like me. In order to afford the prescription drugs I need now, I cut back on food I want to eat –– I get by by only eating the food I truly need to survive, and what I can afford.

The most expensive of my drugs are my eye drops. To afford these drugs that treat pressure and pain and help to preserve my vision, I pay $135 every 90 days for Cosopt, Alphagan, and Travatan. And that cost is very unpredictable –– every three months when the bill comes, I’m constantly worried that the prices might have been raised this time. 

The question crosses my mind every day: “What’s going to come up tomorrow?” I was just recently diagnosed with atrial fibrillation and additional lung issues, which might require even more medications. I’m constantly worrying and stressing about my budget, scared to spend money since I don’t know how much more I will need to spend on my medications.

I do know we should have cheaper drugs in the United States. People in other countries are able to get drugs for lower prices, so I know it can be done. I want my elected representatives to do something about drug prices. Please, care for retired people like me. Lower the prices of our prescription drugs.

My name is Patricia McKenzie and I am from Lithonia, Georgia. I love to read, go to the movies, go to church, and work in the community with my sorority, Sigma Gamma Rho. I also live with high blood pressure as well as insulin-dependent diabetes. 

I am on Medicare and live off a fixed income. I am very money conscious, because I need to stretch out my budget in order to afford my medications, housing, food, and other necessities. Before I was eligible for Medicare, my insulin would have cost me $1,200 every 3 months. When I found out, I was stunned. I could not afford that.

I worked as a public health nurse for the local health department and knew many seniors who couldn’t afford their medications. At the time, I had no idea I would eventually end up in their situation –– risking my health by buying an alternative insulin rather than the one my doctor prescribed me.

Fortunately, now that I am on Medicare, I am able to afford the copays for my insulin. However, I worry with the prices continuing to rise that I will be forced, again, to make the tough decision to go on the less safe insulin. Seniors like me should not have to decide between eating and taking their drugs.

My name is Maria Sanchez, and I am a longtime resident of Atlanta, Georgia. I do my best to manage a number of medical conditions, including diabetes. My illnesses are stressful to me because of the havoc they wreak on my body and on my bank account.

I remember my mother always telling me she didn’t have any money in retirement, and I didn’t understand why until now. Now that I am retired and on a fixed income, I see how medical costs can add up. My insulin is constantly rising in price.

In the last six months alone, my Metformin went from $10 to $50. That is a huge and unexpected change to my budget. My Toujeo, a long-acting insulin that I need, has also increased in cost. In order to buy all of my medications, it usually costs me between$120 and $160 per month. In order to be able to pay for all of my medication I often skip out on buying my diabetic test strips. I only check my blood sugar in the morning, which can be very dangerous to my health — but it’s the only choice I have.

I have decided to share my story because I know that I’m not alone. There are countless other Georgians who are dealing with the same hardship I am enduring. My prescription costs may not seem like a lot to some, but I could use that $150 to buy healthier food for my family or visit my grandchildren more often. Instead, I constantly worry for my health.

My name is Scarlett Woodard and I am a multiple sclerosis patient. At 57 years young, I expect to have many more full years ahead of me. But as my circumstances have changed, I have had to readjust my expectations.

I’m now living on a fixed income and staying on my own in Georgia in order to be close to family. I was formerly an office manager, but I had to stop working because of the increasing severity of my multiple sclerosis. The nerve pain I deal with on a daily basis is excruciating. It has affected my ability to drive, my mobility, the use of my hands — even my ability to smile.

I can’t smile because I can’t afford Lyrica. Lyrica is a medication that treats nerve pain, and it would help with the stinging in my mouth and the effect the nerve pain has had on my taste buds. The cheapest I could find this medication was $240, but depending on my coverage, it would sometimes be $400. Before my divorce, my husband’s insurance would help me pay for it. It really improved my health and made me feel so much better. But now I only have Medicare, and they just don’t cover the Lyrica — so I simply can’t afford it.

If I were able to pay for the Lyrica, I would be able to crochet and paint like I used to love doing. I would be able to smile and better enjoy the foods I love. I know there are thousands of others suffering from multiple sclerosis who are in the same situation as me. I wanted to speak up and share my story not only for myself, but for others dealing with these horrible drug prices.

My name is Donna Renfroe and I was diagnosed with acid reflux in 1997. In addition to that, I also suffer from high cholesterol. Thankfully, my doctors have always worked with me to find the best medications to treat my conditions.

I have been on Nexium for a number of years for my acid reflux, but I recently found out that my insurance company won’t cover it anymore. I thought it would be no problem and I could just pay for it myself because some years ago, it was $126 a month without insurance. I was surprised when I found out it is now $700 a month. Nexium is the only thing that controls my symptoms, but I can’t afford the $700 price tag. And Nexium is not the only medication I have had trouble affording. My doctor prescribed me Repatha for high cholesterol, and there was no option but to go without it due to the price.

What would you do if you were told it would cost $1,000 for just two shots of Repatha? I know most people I know would simply not take it, and that was the case for me. I simply could not afford it.

I am a patient who will continue to face the life-altering symptoms of my conditions, and I wish I could afford the medicines that made my quality of life so much better. I am sharing my story to show that patients are not alone in their struggles. There are everyday people, just like me, who are struggling to scrape by and keep their good health. We deserve better.