A push to for Congress to act on rising prescription drug costs

NEW HAVEN, Conn. (WTNH) — The skyrocketing costs of prescription drugs has Connecticut State Comptroller Kevin Lembo and Congresswoman Rosa DeLauro teaming up against the pharmaceutical industry. They are calling for more oversight at the congressional level.  That now is the time to get prescription drug prices under control.

While more Americans have health insurance, a recent Consumer Reports survey shows that increasingly, Americans are shelling out more for prescription drugs. With one third paying more out of pocket for their regular prescription.

Barbara McDonnell among them. She said, “The card came and it says on the card where it says pharmacy, has gone up $20 and I thought oh that can’t be right.”

She lives in the Tower One/Tower East Senior Living Community in New Haven where Congresswoman DeLauro and State Comptroller Lembo announced — they are pressing Congress to conduct a hearing to investigate.

“It needs to start with investigating with the Pharmaceutical companies, why are we seeing these dramatic costs, rising costs in prescription drugs,” said DeLauro.

Lembo said, “The Congress needs to give Medicare the authority to negotiate for drug prices and plans like ours need to be able to mirror those drug prices.”

And with life saving drugs being priced out of the market says Congresswoman Delauro — people on a fixed income are especially vulnerable.

“We’re talking about cancer drugs, we’re talking about HIV drugs, drugs that are being prescribed by Medicare/Medicaid,” said DeLauro, “People don’t decide to get sick – they need to be able to afford the prescription drugs that they need to survive.”

In the state employee retirement plan alone, the State Comptroller says specialty drugs make up almost 26 percent of the cost of prescriptions.

“That is not sustainable, ” Lembo stressed, “We are working hard to keep costs on the health side, on the pharmacy side it is just blowing up in a way that is not proportionate to keep them managing their disease.”

That’s exactly what worries Barbara McDonnell.

“Well someday is my money going to run out?, ” she asked, “Am I going to be able to afford all these drugs? you know? Wouldn’t you be concerned.”

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