DENVER — The following statement was issued by Lucy Westerfield, deputy executive director of Patients For Affordable Drugs Now, following Governor Jared Polis’ signing of SB 21-175, a bill that establishes a prescription drug affordability board designed to deliver relief to Coloradans suffering from high drug prices:
“On behalf of Colorado patients, we thank Governor Polis for signing into law SB 21-175, a groundbreaking bill that will establish the country’s third prescription drug affordability board. The new prescription drug affordability board, which has overwhelming support from Coloradans, will be the first board of its kind to have the power to set upper payment limits for all insurers, providing meaningful relief to patients who struggle to afford their medications due to high prices. This is an important step for Colorado and one we hope other states will follow to protect patients and stand up to Big Pharma.”
DENVER — The following statement was issued by Lucy Westerfield, deputy executive director of Patients For Affordable Drugs Now, following the Colorado state legislature’s vote to pass SB 21-175, a bill that establishes a prescription drug affordability board designed to deliver relief to Coloradans suffering from high drug prices:
“The passage of SB 21-175 is a huge win for Colorado patients who have struggled with outrageous prescription drug prices for far too long. We are grateful to the Colorado state legislature for standing with patients and passing this groundbreaking bill to establish a prescription drug affordability board and meaningfully lower drug prices. We look forward to Governor Polis signing this bill into law.”
DENVER — Colorado patient advocate Kris Garcia will testify in front of the Colorado House Health and Insurance Committee today in support of SB 21-175, which would establish a prescription drug affordability board designed to deliver relief to Coloradans struggling with high drug prices.
Garcia, from Denver, lives with multiple bleeding disorders including hemophilia. He relies on a medication called Humate-P, which costs $10,000 per vial. Each time Garcia gets an infusion, he requires four vials.
“The cost of these prescriptions has affected many decisions in my life,” Garcia, a father of three, will say. “I had to give up my dream of being a business owner because of how expensive my medications were. I now work multiple jobs for almost 80 hours a week, just to afford my medications and other expenses.”
“I shouldn’t have to live in constant fear of financial ruin to my family just because of drug company prices,” Garcia will tell the committee. “I urge you to vote YES on SB 21-175. The bill would dramatically affect countless lives and save the livelihoods of Coloradans just like me. Please help fix this broken drug pricing system.”
SB 21-175 would create a prescription drug affordability board that would:
DENVER — The following statement was issued by Lucy Westerfield, deputy executive director of Patients For Affordable Drugs Now, after the Colorado Senate passed SB 21-175, which would establish a prescription drug affordability board designed to deliver relief to Coloradans suffering from high drug prices:
“For far too long, Coloradans have faced the outrageous prices of prescription drugs, forcing many to skip doses of their medications or simply go without. We applaud the Colorado Senate for passing SB 21-175, which would offer relief to Colorado patients by creating a prescription drug affordability board that reins in high prices. On behalf of patients, we urge the Colorado House to move quickly to advance this bill.”
ST. PAUL, Minn. — Bemidji cancer patient Ramae Hamrin will testify in front of the Minnesota House Commerce Finance and Policy Committee today in support of the bipartisan legislation HF 801, which would establish a prescription drug affordability board designed to protect Minnesota patients like Hamrin from unaffordable prescription drugs.
Hamrin lives with multiple myeloma, an incurable blood cancer, and relies on Revlimid, an oral chemotherapy drug sold by Celgene/Bristol Myers Squibb, to keep her alive. Revlimid is priced at over $250,000 a year and, even on Medicare, Hamrin faces out-of-pocket costs of $15,000 a year. That is simply untenable for Hamrin.
“In order to continue taking this life-saving drug, there is a chance I will have to deplete my life savings, cash out my 401(k), and sell my house. When those funds run out, I’m not sure what I will do. Usually, I am a planner — but I cannot plan for this,” Hamrin, age 50, will tell the committee. “My circumstances make me feel helpless at times, but I am grateful that I can share my story with all of you.”
“This bill to create a drug pricing board is an essential first step to hold drug companies accountable and fix this broken system. Drugs don’t work if people can’t afford them. I strongly urge you to vote YES on HF 801 to protect patients from the burden of high drug prices.”
HF 801 would:
The hearing and Hamrin’s testimony can be watched here at 3:00 PM CST.
AUGUSTA, Maine — After a series of unanimous votes today, Maine senators advanced legislation that would hold drug corporations accountable for exorbitant price hikes and allow for the safe importation of prescription drugs from Canada. A package of bills aimed at lowering drug prices now moves to the House floor.
“Today’s vote shows that Mainers are taking charge in the fight to lower drug prices,” said Ben Wakana, Executive Director of Patients For Affordable Drugs Now. “We applaud consumer groups and the state legislature’s efforts to rein in drug prices, and we are proud patients are standing up against abusive pricing practices.”
In advance of today’s votes, Patients For Affordable Drugs Now published a series of patient stories to underscore the urgency of the drug pricing crisis in Maine. Additionally, four patients testified at an April hearing, and Mainers were given the tools to contact their legislators in support of the proposed changes.
Here’s how the pending legislation would benefit Mainers:
Lori Dumont of Brewer: “My brother suffered ketoacidosis because he could not afford his insulin. Like so many others, his insulin costs were out of control. For both his long term and short term insulin he was paying about $1,500 a month. On a fixed income, high drug prices are literally a matter of life and death.”
Sabrina Burbeck of Old Town: “When my youngest son was 18 months old he was diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes. In order to survive, he relies on Humalog Insulin. One vial of Humalog costs $350.”
Glenda Smith of Kennebunk: “My Symbicort, Lostatin, Spiriva, and other medications cost me more than $1,200/month, not to mention the $5,000 we have to pay out of pocket before insurance even begins to pay its portion. That is not realistic on our fixed income. My drug costs alone are more than my entire Social Security check.”
Christina Raymond of Limestone: “In order to manage my disease, I require several medications –– Lupron, Tamoxifen, and Neulasta –– in addition to my regular chemo treatments. Lupron costs me $1,500 per month and my Neulasta runs $6,000 per shot.”
ANNAPOLIS, Md. — In response to news that Maryland’s law to create the nation’s first prescription drug affordability board will go into effect on July 1, 2019, Patients For Affordable Drugs Now Executive Director Ben Wakana issued the following statement:
“This is a huge victory for Maryland patients and taxpayers. We are asserting the power of citizens to push back against the abusive monopoly pricing of drug corporations, and this new law is a step toward the day when all taxpayers and patients can use their purchasing power to demand fair prices for the prescription drugs we need.”
WASHINGTON, D.C. — From coast to coast, patients are speaking out, and Big Pharma is on the run. Over the last two weeks, from California to Maine, states have taken meaningful steps to protect patients from higher drug prices and crack down on Big Pharma’s price gouging. Take a look:
Oregon (HB 2658)
California (AB 824)
Maryland (HB 768)
“Momentum is building across the country,” said Ben Wakana, Executive Director of Patients For Affordable Drugs Now. “Patients are turning up at statehouses to tell lawmakers just how harmful high drug prices have become — their voices are seeding a movement.”