The price of prescription drugs in the United States has continued to rise over the years, which has taken a huge economical toll on a large number of citizens. As one of the leading countries in the world, it may seem strange that this is actually a problem. The main reason for these high drug prices in the United States is the fact that drug manufacturers set their own prices.
Unlike many other leading countries in the world, the United States does not require pharmaceutical companies to set government-regulated prices on medications. Pharmaceutical companies blame their high prices on “research and development,” but this only accounts for 10 to 20 percent of their revenue. These companies have continually lied in order to take advantage of sick Americans, but a recently proposed bill could help so many receive the medications they desperately need.
The bill, known as the “Improving Access to Affordable Prescription Drugs Act,” could allow Americans struggling to pay for prescription drugs to finally afford their medications. Currently in the United States, Medicaid receives a mandated discount from drug companies, while it is illegal for Medicare to even negotiate with these companies. The elderly are some of the industry’s biggest clients and they have repeatedly been taken advantage of. The “Improving Access to Affordable Prescription Drugs Act” would provide relief to seniors by allowing Medicare to negotiate fair drug prices and lowering out-of-pocket costs.
This bill will also keep costs low by requiring drug manufacturers to provide rebates for low income individuals and placing a cap on prescription drug cost-sharing. High deductibles and cost-sharing have been an economic burden to low income families. This bill will cap prescription drug sharing at $250 per month for individuals and $500 for families enrolled in Qualified Health Plans and employer-based plans. This will reduce costs significantly, especially for those in need of expensive, specialty drugs.
The “Improving Access to Affordable Prescription Drugs Act” would require transparency from the drug industry and would work toward ending monopolies within the industry. This legislation would create more competition by preserving access to affordable generics and making it illegal for brand-name and generic drug manufacturers to enter into agreements in which the brand-name drug manufacturer pays the generic manufacturer to keep more affordable generic equivalents off the market.
For too long pharmaceutical companies have taken advantage of American citizens who rely on the medications they produce. If the “Improving Access to Affordable Prescription Drugs Act” is passed, it could greatly impact a large number of Americans by making prescription drugs more affordable.