Legislative Committees Look into Medical Costs and High Drug Prices

This week, two legislative committees delved into medical issues. The first was the House Subcommittee on Health Care Reform, which looked at ways Missourians could get more information about the cost of medical procedures before choosing a provider. A major theme of the hearing was the lack of transparency of the real costs of healthcare; many people aren't aware of the costs until after their bills come in the mail. One solution that was offered was legislation called "right to shop," whereby consumers would be able to know the real prices of care before choosing a provider. Several states, including Kentucky and Tennessee, have passed this legislation.

The second committee, the Senate Prescription Drug Transparency Committee looked at the high cost of pharmaceutical drugs. Sharon Lamberton, the deputy vice president of PhRMA, an advocacy group that represents biopharmaceutical research companies, was present to discuss the issue. She said it costs about $2.6 million to bring medication from the research lab to the patient and can take at least a decade to do so. But lawmakers questioned why more generic products -- drugs that are not as modern, but are cheaper -- are not available to consumers. Lamberton said generic drugs don't work for everyone. She said that in Missouri, 90% of prescriptions are filled by generic drugs. Scott Woods, a member of the Pharmaceutical Care Management Association (PCMA), spoke about the company's ability to negotiate lower drug prices for patients.
 
 
September 13, 2019 - 2:56pm
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