• Florida Policy Watch

Retirees Speak Out Against Big Pharma & Drug Prices

Seniors from the Florida Alliance for Retired Americans speak out on the high price of prescription drugs in the US and join Congressman Darren Soto in calling for the passage of the Lower Prescription Drug Act in Congress this year. Take action with them today.

Currently, US residents pay more for prescription drugs than residents of any other country in the world. This is so primarily because the US gives drug corporations monopoly control to set prices and keep them high even though most FDA approved medicines have been developed with taxpayer funding.

In a report released on March 17th, 2021, three out of four voters across America announced that healthcare should be the top priority for President Biden and Congress. Many thought Biden and Congress would make changes but worried that they won’t go far enough in the changes they make to the healthcare system. This includes addressing the cost of prescription drugs.

Recently advocates at Florida Alliance for Retired Americans joined Congressman Darren Soto in speaking out about the necessity for change and the congressional legislation that could do the job. H.R.3, the Elijah E. Cummings Lower Drug Costs Now Act, is legislation that establishes programs and requirements to lower drug costs. It gives Medicare the power to negotiate drug prices and allows for lower drug prices to be available for people with private insurance and/or no insurance. It creates a $2000 out-of-pocket limit for those who are on Medicare and Medicaid. Rep. Soto argued that “so many of my constituents who are drawing on social security or drawing on a pension run out of money by the end of the month. Many have to cut their medications in half and quarters waiting for that social security check to come in next month. This is very dangerous. It puts seniors at risk health wise… It is a travesty.”

The travesty doesn’t just apply to seniors.

According to the United Way’s ALICE Report, “46% of Florida’s 7,792,605 households” struggle to “make ends meet”. Florida is currently ranked 32nd in the nation for the percentage of households in poverty (nearly 13% and rising due to the COVID pandemic) and 34th in the nation for the number of children living in poverty (17.4%). Approximately 13% (or 2,792,400) of Florida residents currently do not have health insurance. Without insurance people pay out of pocket for healthcare and/or seek out underfunded and limited programs that cater to low-income populations. Even with access to insurance and subsidized healthcare programs prescription medications are often inaccessible to those on a limited budget, no insurance, or who have insurance that contain high premiums for prescription drugs.

Tom, a retiree who is on Medicare, stated he put our $2418 dollars in prescription drugs, which is 1/10 of this total income. In the month of April this year he spent $1,311 on prescription drugs - which is a little over ⅓ of his pension. He stated, “they always say we have to pay for research and development. But, as Rep. Soto stated, we the taxpayers pay for research and development.” He also admitted to cutting his medication prescriptions because he can’t afford to take his blood sugar medication as prescribed. He closed out his speech by saying, “If Walmart can negotiate drug prices because they are such a big company, then taxpayers, through Medicare, should be allowed to negotiate lower drug prices.”

H.R.3 has been heard by its first committee and is moving through committees and needs support. Those who advocate for lower prescription drugs need citizen advocates to stand up and support the initiative. According to Barbara DeVane, Secretary of the Florida Alliance for Retired Americans, “if we cannot get H.R.3 passed then we need to insert it in the American Families Act. We need people to reach out to their members of Congress. Let them know that this is an issue for Floridians.”

Take Action Today and Send an Email to Your Members of Congress telling them to Vote Yes on H.R.3 when it comes to them in committee and/or the floor.

Tell them you want lower drug prices today!

Florida Policy Action Network is a project of the Florida Center for Fiscal and Economic Policy and the Florida People's Advocacy Center. The mission of FPAN is to uplift directly impacted voices and combine movement research, public policy analysis, and citizen supported advocacy to change the way elected officials in Florida debate issues that directly impact the state's most marginalized and oppressed. We need your support to continue our work.


To find out more explore our website at https://www.flpan.org

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