Blog: Todd Rokita, General Counsel and VP of External Affairs
The noise surrounding the alarming inability for many Americans to afford prescription medications is louder than ever. But I’m optimistic to see that our U.S. Senators are attempting to cut through the prescription drug industry confusion. They are advocating for changes that will make medications more affordable and the system simpler to navigate, especially for seniors and retirees.
A series of hearings on drug costs was organized by the Special Committee on Aging and featured expert testimonies from professionals and from patients on the causes and effects of this crisis.
I was shocked by the testimony given by a Granger, Indiana resident diagnosed with Multiple Myeloma. Widowed and having raised three children alone, she retired from a well-paying job that had “set her up well for retirement,” she said. Despite the fact she had Medicare Part D pharmacy benefits, she had to refinance her home (she would have been mortgage free in three more years) to afford a life-prolonging cancer drug – that cost $250,000 a year before discounts.
“I am grateful for the additional time Revlimid has given me with my family,” she said of the cancer drug. “But having cancer is hard enough, I shouldn’t have to lose my savings to stay alive.”
Affording drugs that cure disease or improve quality of life – or prolong life – should not have to be an “either/or” decision. Or financially devastating.
We all can do better. At Apex Benefits, we’re committed to being champions for greater transparency while fighting for what’s best for employers, employees and retirees.
Read about the “five ideas about drug prices” that came up at the Senate hearings in this BenefitsPro article.