Recently I was diagnosed with a rare, incurable disease. Without treatment most people with the disease die within 10 years. Then I learned that the copay for the prescription drug to manage the disease will increase more than 600 percent, from $73 to $517 per month.
I am grateful to the counselors from the Senior Health Insurance Information Program who alerted me. The representative at the prescription drug plan confirmed the price and said the cost could change at any time, possibly increasing further.
U.S. prescription drug prices are among the highest in the world. Other countries limit pharmaceutical costs, the United States does not, nor does the U.S. permit Medicare to negotiate lower drug prices. The U.S. also prohibits importation of prescription drugs from Canada, where prices are controlled.
In Canada the branded drug I need can be purchased for $204 or the generic equivalent for $61 per month.
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Congress’s inaction on the price of pharmaceuticals perpetuates health care as primarily a for-profit business, forcing many to forgo life-saving treatment or engage in the prohibited importation of drugs. Everyone now struggling to pay for prescriptions should write their representatives and demand that the U.S., like other nations, regulate drug prices.