Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Senator Rockefeller Press Release

Introduces the Affordable Access to Prescription Medications Act of 2009

Washington, D.C.—Senator John D. (Jay) Rockefeller IV today [Aug 7] introduced the Affordable Access to Prescription Medications Act of 2009, which will protect all Americans from high out-of-pocket spending on prescription drugs, particularly for those with serious or chronic diseases like cancer or multiple sclerosis. By implementing these new protections, this bill is expected to lower co-payments for up to 10% of Americans with the highest prescription costs.

“With each passing year, Americans are paying more for their health care,” said Senator Rockefeller, Chairman of the Senate Finance Subcommittee on Health Care. “Rising out-of-pocket costs are hurting all patients, especially chronically ill and low-income people. Access to affordable prescription drugs to treat chronic diseases is a must if Congress is serious about fixing what is broken in today’s health care system.”

Read more here.


Norm Kachuck, MD said...

In the midst of all of this rhetoric and truly felt cries of injustice, we may be missing a critical upstream problem that is seemingly ignored here.
We can't solve the underlying problem of expensive drugs and ignore the role of an upstream effect on the American way of translational research leading to new therapies.
Since the birth of the NIH, and enforced by the Bayh-Dole Act, we have entrusted development of drugs to the commercial sector. Costs there for expensive R&D are passed on, in traditional capitalist fashion, to the consumers of the few successful therapies which make the grade.
By limiting the amount consumers pay for drugs, we increase the financial liability that the payers/insurers must take on, unless they can reduce the price they pay to producer of the therapy. The latter creates business models of their entire translational research process on their bottom line profitability, and if they must reduce price, then they will re-examine their costs for getting drugs to market, and make decisions that may not be in the community's best interest. Like taking research overseas, or worse, finding better ways to satisfy their stakeholders than bring drugs to limited markets like the MS population.
The problem is intrinsic to the system, from the headwaters of R&D at the university, to the ocean water's edge where the patient is receiving the medicine. The whole process needs attention. We are not going to solve this by simply damming the stream. The first step is to realize the chain starts with how the government policy mandated the way therapies are researched. The flow of new ways of taking care of ourselves needs to be adapted to the needs, but we ignore the sociopolitical environment in which it takes place at our peril.

Denver Refashionista said...