CHARLESTON – A healthcare advocacy group launched digital ads this week to draw the attention of federal lawmakers to a bill that could lower prescription drug prices.
Protect Our Care West Virginia held a press conference Thursday to announce a digital ad buy that began on Tuesday to promote passage of HR 3, the reduced drug costs law.
The ads, which will run throughout the summer, tell the story of Mindy Salango, from Morgantown, a type 1 diabetic who relies on insulin to manage her diabetes.
“When I started out as a diabetic, insulin usually cost around $ 25 per month. “ said Salango. “Now I pay about $ 350 a month for all of my supplies to control my blood sugar. The thought of not being able to afford my medication is terrifying.
Speaking at Thursday’s press conference, Salango explained his difficulties paying for his diabetes medications and supplies. Salango said higher prescription drug prices are causing people to choose between their medications and other priorities, such as rent, mortgages, student loans, credit cards and food.
“Thinking about the different implications and the damage you do to your body when you don’t take your medication, especially something like insulin which is vital for survival and vital for staying healthy is terrifying.” said Salango. “For the richest country in the world, to treat citizens like this is appalling to me. “
That’s why Salango is calling on West Virginia lawmakers in the House of Representatives and Congress to support the Lower Drug Costs Now law. HR3 would require the US Department of Health and Human Services to negotiate the prices of certain types of drugs – power the agency does not have.
The bill would give the HHS the power to negotiate maximum prices for certain brand name drugs when generics are not available and account for the bulk of federal spending for HHS and Medicare. The bill also gives the HHS the power to negotiate the cost of newly approved drugs and insulin products.
According to Support Our Care WV, HR3 could save taxpayers an estimated $ 500 billion over the next 10 years while making prescription drugs more affordable for people on low or fixed incomes, potentially lowering the prices of drugs. drugs up to 55%. According to the progressive Center for American Progress, HR 3 could save type 1 diabetics up to $ 700 a year on insulin.
“The next big frontier in health care is falling prescription drug prices for the American people,” said Brad Woodhouse, executive director of Protect Our Care. “It’s outrageous what Mindy talked about in that ad. It is outrageous that we are faced with this… It is really obvious that we should do this. If you give the power to Medicare, it saves taxpayers hundreds of billions of dollars and it costs nothing.
This is the second time HR 3 has been introduced, bringing together 62 co-sponsors in the House, although no Republican has signed the bill. The previous version of the bill had 106 co-sponsors but no Republican support. He passed House 230 to 192 with just two Republicans supporting the bill. All three members of the West Virginia Republican House – 1st District Congressman David McKinley, 2nd District Congressman Alex Mooney, and 3rd District Congressman Carol Miller – all voted against.
The ad campaign is part of a 13-state strategy to lobby federal lawmakers. Protect Our Care is planning other events throughout the summer.
Steven Allen Adams can be contacted at [email protected]