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Prescription drug price negotiations needed

I am writing about the recent article “How Medicare should negotiate drug prices” which highlighted the potential for government negotiations to lower prices of 10 commonly prescribed medications. I agree that the government needs to strike a balance between price reductions and the preservation of incentives for companies to continue innovating. However, the latter cannot triumph over affordable medication for the majority of Americans, who have provided these incentives through their taxes.

As a public health student, affordable prescription prices are vital for our community to resolve acute disease and manage chronic illness. The 10 selected drugs, which includes medications for diabetes management, blood clot prevention, and cancer treatment, accounted for $50.5 billion, or around 20%, of total Medicare Part D covered prescription drug costs between June 1, 2022 and May 31, 2023. These 10 drugs cost Medicare enrollees $3.4 billion in out-of-pocket costs last year alone.

By 2027, 15 additional drugs covered under Part D will be selected by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services for negotiation. Another 15 and 20 drugs by 2028 and 2029 respectively, from both Part B and Part D, will be negotiated, offering more savings to Medicare users.

CMS has been locked out of price negotiations for decades. As costs continue to rise and budgets remain constrained, the Inflation Reduction Act’s authorization for Medicare to negotiate drug prices provides a much-needed lifeline to many Butler County residents, and offers strong potential to reduce federal spending, lower cost sharing, and improve health equity.

Ian Leighton,

Renfrew

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