Hold Big Pharma accountable

4 years ago

To the editor:

Here is what we know: Americans pay more than any other country in the world for their prescription drugs. Top executives from the biggest drug companies all agree that this is so, and they won’t take responsibility. You may recall that several prescription drug company CEOs testified before the U.S. Senate Financial Committee earlier this year, and that they blamed “the system” for America’s skyrocketing prescription drug costs. Their price-gouging tactics are shameful. 

Thousands of Mainers take prescription drugs. For many, prescription drugs represent the only defense they have against crippling pain. For others, prescription medications are a lifeline in their fight against serious conditions like heart disease, cancer and diabetes. 

Maine cannot continue this alarming trend. It is time for our state Legislature and our governor to take action and for Pharma to be held accountable.

Many County residents are already financially challenged. Social Security only goes so far and in our state, the average monthly benefit is just over $1,000. That barely covers food, heat and other necessities. When you need to pay for prescriptions, which are already so expensive, it is hard to make ends meet.

If you currently have health insurance coverage, you may be one of the lucky ones who only has a co-pay for your medications. However, the enormous increase in drug costs ultimately affects you in the form of higher insurance deductibles and premiums. At the end of the day, we all pay.

The truth is that drug companies make billions in profits from older adults and hardworking Americans each year. No one should have to choose between food and medicine, but some Mainers are doing just that. 

The drug companies don’t want to pay more, so they’re also spending millions on lobbyists and lobbying campaigns to try to keep their high prices and high profits. They spend billions every year on marketing, rather than pump needed dollars into research and the development of new drugs that could save lives and alleviate pain. Let’s face it, Big Pharma cares more about their profits than the health and well-being of Maine seniors.

We have to fight back. 

State Sen. Troy Jackson has been leading efforts working with his caucus and Republican colleagues to pass a package of bills to help address affordability, accountability and prescription drug accessibility. This bi-partisan legislation cannot come soon enough.

Please join me in urging our state legislators to keep working together to pass this important package of bills right away. Please urge Gov. Mills to sign the bills into laws so Mainers can begin to feel some relief from high drug prices. Let’s stand up for Maine, say no to Pharma’s price-gouging tactics and finally Stop Rx Greed.

Gail Maynard