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Prescription prices climbing while President Trump, Congress do little, Public Citizen says

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Despite promises from President Donald Trump and prescription corporations, prices for prescriptions have surged during the first six months of 2019. More than 3,400 medications rose an average of 10.5 percent in the first six months of 2019.

Despite presidential tweets and congressional hearings, there is still nothing to prevent prescription companies from sharply increasing prices, said Peter Maybarduk, director of Public Citizen’s Access to Medicines Program.

Lawmakers who have favored only modest reforms need to open their eyes to the routine price gouging pharmaceutical corporations inflict on Americans with impunity, Maybarduk said.

“Modest reductions quickly will be swallowed up by next year’s industrywide increases,” he said. “We can’t just tweak drug pricing. Americans demand we transform it.”

There are three essential elements to a strategy to get the lowest prescription prices: Lawmakers need to:

  • Increase public negotiating power.
  • Curb the abuse of monopoly power.
  • Block year-to-year prescription spikes.

Legislation has been proposed to carry out this strategy. U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown, D-Ohio, has introduced the Stop Price Gouging Act.

Maybarduk said it needs to be passed right away to put an end to price spikes.

Copyright 2019, Rita R. Robison, Consumer and Personal Finance Journalist

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