“There were two months that I wasn’t able to pay for it (prescription drugs),” shares Leticia Cruz of New Haven with CTLN. “I didn’t expect to get diabetes, it just happened…it is very stressful, it’s not easy.”
Leticia is not alone. She is one of the millions of people in Connecticut and across the United States having a tough time getting the medication they need because of the skyrocketing prices. Many people are crossing the border to Canada to buy prescription drugs. Some have to make the tough choice between paying for medicine or their next meal.
“The United States has the highest brand-name drug prices in the world. The pharmaceutical industry has developed remarkable and life-saving therapies for many serious illnesses, but medication can’t save your life if you can’t afford to take it”, said Anna Doroghazi, associate state director – advocacy and outreach, AARP Connecticut.
According to a recent study by the National Center for Health Statistics., approximately 46-percent of the U.S. population had used one or more prescription drugs in the last month between 2015 and 2016; a decrease from a decade earlier when 48.3-percent used prescription medications.
Per the study, prescription drug use was highest among non-Hispanic white patients:
- Non-Hispanic white 50%
- Non-Hispanic black 44.7%
- Hispanic 37.1%
- Non-Hispanic Asian 33.4%
In an effort to rein in the rising cost of prescriptions drugs, the state introduced House Bill 7174 which contains several proposals to lower drug prices. These include allowing the state comptroller to set up a prescription drug purchasing program and requiring pharmaceutical companies to publicly disclose any agreements that would delay or prevent generic drugs from becoming available to consumers.
Editor’s note: CtLatinoNews has endorsed HB 7174 and partnered with AARP Connecticut to support passage of the bill.