30% of Americans leave their prescriptions unfilled because they are just too expensive. Meanwhile, pharmaceutical companies maintain the highest profits of any industry nationwide.
New patient-first legislation would allow the Secretary of Health and Human Services to negotiate with drug companies to cut prescription costs for Medicare Part D. If they refuse to compromise, other companies will be granted the opportunity to produce cheaper alternatives in an effort to lessen the financial burden and increase equitable access. Senator Sherrod Brown, lead sponsor of the bill says, “[t]he purpose of medicine is to help people, not to line the pockets of [pharmaceutical executives]” a sentiment all Americans would endorse, considering we spent upwards of $360 billion on medication in 2018.
Each representative cosponsoring the bill brings us closer to changing the lives of the 43 million people enrolled in Medicare Part D nationwide. Congresswoman Donna Shalala, whose district rests in Miami-Dade County, has the power and platform to advocate for this bill and Florida’s 1.2 million Part D enrollees. Partners in Health Engage Miami (a student-led global health organization proudly rooted at the University of Miami) urges Congresswoman Shalala to action by cosponsoring the Medicare Negotiation and Competitive Licensing Act of 2019.
Calvin Antonetty is a senior majoring in medical anthropology and vice-president of the Veteran Students Organization.