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Fed up consumers demanding changes over high drug prices | myDayton Daily News

Public fed up

The development of new and better drugs has an immeasurable benefit to Americans. Health care has shifted toward prevention, and innovative drugs to treat more diseases have been a big part of that. An expensive drug that prevents an even more expensive surgery or a stay in a nursing home is arguably a win, said Marc Sweeney, founding dean of the School of Pharmacy at Cedarville University.

But critics say drug makers are taking advantage of the public’s ignorance about pricing as well as government incentives meant to spur innovation to reap big profits at the expense of the American people.

“The American people should not be forced to choose between filling a prescription or making their monthly mortgage payment,” Sen. John McCain said in a statement last year announcing the bipartisan FAIR Drug Pricing Act, which would require drug makers to publicly disclose information on planned price increases. “Transparency leads to accountability, and it is past time that mantra applied to the skyrocketing cost of prescription medication.”

Many Americans are demanding changes. In a September Kaiser Family Foundation poll, 82 percent of the respondents favored giving Medicare — the federal government’s insurance program for seniors — new authority to negotiate prices with drug companies. Seventy-eight percent supported limiting the amount companies can charge for high-cost drugs. And 86 percent said they want more transparency on how drug companies set prices.

“If you’re a consumer, how would you ever know what something is supposed to cost?” said Gary Rutherford, a pharmacist and co-founder of the Columbus consulting firm, Health Plan Data Solutions.

Pharmacist Kyle Fields counts pills at Waynesville Pharmacy, Dec. 2, 2016. The rising cost of prescription drugs has become a hot … Read More
To give consumers better information on which to make their health care decisions, this newspaper examined two big drivers in how prescription prices are set: specialty drugs and pharmacy benefit managers, the so-called middlemen in the pricing structure. Although their roles are not widely understood, both have great influence over what you pay at the drug counter.

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Fed up consumers demanding changes over high drug prices.