Patients with Medicare can perhaps rejoice because the new budget will possibly lower the costs of expensive prescription medications. Medicare patients will be happy to note that the new budget which was passed last week will bring in changes that are beneficial for them.
Elisabeth Rosenthal the editor-in-chief of Kaiser Health News and a noted reporter on healthcare has spoken to NPR radio and given her opinion on the changes which are expected. Rosenthal has been following the spiraling costs of prescription drugs during her career as a reporter.
What does Rosenthal have to say about Medicare drug prices?
Rosenthal believes that the changes will certainly affect a small group of people because it is targeting the population of the Medicare age and people with Medicare plans. People who are having to pay high prices within the Medicare system will definitely benefit from the changes.
The prices of prescription drugs are high to keep people away from purchasing the drugs and this includes Medicare patients despite the discounts that are being offered on the drugs. With the changes that are anticipated Medicare patients can find some relief but the discount is given on the high prices of drugs is not proving highly beneficial mentions, Rosenthal.
She further has the opinion that the United States is perhaps the only country in the world which does not negotiate the prices of prescription drugs with the manufacturers in any way. The problem gets compounded when countries like the US which are the most developed are indulging in such behavior.
Rosenthal has mentioned that most of the countries are evaluating the cost-benefit ratio of new drugs before deciding the price for the same. They are also negotiating with drug manufacturers especially with regard to drugs which had been introduced earlier.
Concerns over soaring drug prices
The fact that drug prices are high is known to all but what is unique to the United States is that drugs in the country are costing as high as seven times from similar drugs which are sold in developed countries like Germany.
Rosenthal believes that matters are compounded further because the administration has been slow in allowing the introduction of generic medications in the market which are commonly available in other countries.
Medicare patients have been held hostage in the courts by suits and countersuits between the three major producers of insulin and include the manufacturer any Eli Lilly who is the former employer of the present secretary of Health and Human Services.
Rosenthal has mentioned that the secretary Alex Azar who fully understands the making of generic medicines has been a figure who may have held up the arrival of generics in the US market.
His appointment has made people wonder whether the administration is loyal to the American people or are they just concerned about the pharmaceutical companies that were employing them earlier.
Rosenthal admits that while the Republicans and Democrats agree that prices of prescription drugs are too high they are unable to agree on the methods which can tackle the problem. She has also mentioned that there are forces which are resisting the changes that are proposed.
Sen. Klobuchar along with Sen. John McCain have suggested proposals to allow the import of prescription drugs from other countries in order to ensure that America is keen to participate in global competition and let the population of the country know whether they can purchase their prescription drugs by using the same method which is adapted for purchasing vehicles and refrigerators.
The interview which was broadcast on NPR radio was conducted by Scott Simon and it isn’t clear whether major benefits will accrue to patients of Medicare by the changes being suggested in the new budget.
Patients may be under the impression they are getting a better discount according to the new proposals. However, the prices of prescription drugs continue to remain overinflated and any changes which may be seen will only provide benefits for a small group of people without really providing the administration any mechanism to control the prices of prescription drugs.
Matters would have taken a turn for the better if the administration had agreed on the proposals put forward by the two Republican senators Klobuchar and John McCain because it would have allowed the import of generic drugs from other countries where the prices are much lower than in the United States.
Unless the administration can agree on this factor prices of prescription drugs within the United States are likely to remain high and beyond the reach of most Americans.