High Drug Prices endanger New Hampshire Economic Recovery as Granite Staters Call to Lower Prescription Drug Prices
(Manchester, NH) — Today, community activists and physicians joined Congressman Chris Pappas in a virtual forum on how prescription drug costs are hurting the New Hampshire economy and families. The event was organized by Protect Our Care NH.
According to the National Library of Medicine, per capita prescription drug spending in the United States is greater than that in all other countries, and in recent years the rise is far beyond the consumer price index. The root is government-granted drug manufacturer monopolies - and the cost to the economy is huge. Prescription drug spending by Americans increased by 5.7% to $369.7 billion in 2019.
Rep. Chris Pappas said that pandemic has exacerbated issues for NH families, but that COVID relief legislation, making coverage more affordable. “We need more progress in Congress to reduce drug prices, on an unsustainable path. We pay more than any nation in the world for drugs. Folks are rationing, and cannot afford medication.”
Lowering prescription drug costs remains a priority for Granite Staters and patients across the country. New polling shows that after addressing COVID-19, the top issue for voters is lowering health and drug costs, and 93% support giving Medicare the power to negotiate with drug companies for lower prices.
In 2019, House Democrats with leadership from Rep. passed the Lower Drug Costs Now Act (H.R. 3), bold legislation to give Medicare the power to negotiate for lower drug costs — the single most effective measure to bring down drug prices. In April, House Democrats reintroduced this legislation, giving Congress another Congressman opportunity to lower prescription drug costs, and meet the demands of voters.
Lucy Hodder, Director, Health Law and Policy UNH School of Law, pointed out that prescription drug costs have been increasing in NH, and that many people pay costs out of deductibles without benefit of rebates. “Some 3 out of 10 patients do not take medication prescribed out of cost. There is no evidence that there is any benefit by increased irrational prices, a driver of unsustainable cost. We need a healthcare industry, and we need to support it, but it needs to be better.”
Jayme Simoes of Protect Our Care NH said that “for too long the system has been rigged in favor of drug companies, and it's time to put people and our community, not big pharma’s profits, first. “
Eva Castillo, Director, New Hampshire Alliance for Immigrants and Refugees, said “People need medications to survive, cannot afford them.”
Jay Gupta, the Director of Pharmacy & Integrative Health at Harbor Care, said we need to give care upstream: “We need to stop pulling people out of the river, we need to go upstream and figure out why people are falling in.”