MEMPHIS, Tenn. – It’s a struggle and a decision no family should face, whether it’s buying lifesaving medicine or putting food on the table.
According to AARP, the average cost of prescriptions that most of us rely on has increased 300% over the past 15 years.
FOX13 will tell the story of a patient fighting for change and removing giant barriers to lower prices.
“It’s the injection pens,” Mindy Solango said.
Mindy Solango starts every day making sure she has the medications and devices she needs to treat her type 1 diabetes.
“My continuous glucometer,” she said.
These are things that she depends on and that add up quickly.
“With insulin and everything, it’s about $350 a month,” she said.
Mindy said it was even harder years ago when she was a single mother with a different insurance plan. At the time, she was paying around $500 a month.
“It got really difficult,” she said. “I was rationing insulin, I wasn’t eating as much.”
But Mindy isn’t one to sit down and struggle.
She took her fight to Washington.
“Our only option is pay or die,” Solango said.
His frustration reflects the emotions in many homes in our community.
FOX13 filed for registration with the Federal Trade Commission that showed nearly 100 public complaints about different drug pricing issues over the past three years.
One person wrote that his wife lost her discount price after signing up for Medicare.
Some people have written that they are fighting their insurance companies over reimbursable drug costs.
“I don’t understand why our representatives are allowing this to happen,” Solango said.
FOX13’s Washington News Bureau took the question to Capitol Hill.
Members of both parties agree that this is a problem that needs to be solved, but disagree on how to solve it.
The House Oversight and Reform Committee released two different reports on drug prices, one from each party.
Democrats are pointing the finger at unfair trade practices in the pharmaceutical industry.
“They are targeting American consumers with higher prices,” said Sen. Maggie Hassan, D-New Hampshire.
Republicans blame Pharmacy Benefit Managers, also known as PBMs.
These managers work for companies that manage prescription drug benefits for insurers.
“PMBs increase patient co-payments,” said Rep. James Comer, R-Kentucky.
Republicans argue that PBMs often steer patients towards higher drug costs in order to obtain higher discounts.
“Without greater transparency of PBMs, it’s hard to see how these tactics benefit patients,” Comer said.
“The first thing is that it’s not a partisan issue,” Solango said. “I mean diabetes didn’t ask me if I wasn’t a Democrat or a Republican.”
“We’re all struggling, and you need to listen,” she said.
This struggle is even greater in the Mid-South.
A report that ranks the cheapest prescription drug prices by state on medicare-guide.com, ranks Maine first, Mississippi comes ninth and Arkansas 13th.
According to the report, Tennessee ranks last in the most expensive drug prices for people on Medicaid. Still, FOX13’s Washington News Bureau said there was no bipartisan plan to set drug prices.
©2022 Cox Media Group