ATLANTA, Ga. (CW69 News at 10) – Local seniors and health care providers met with Sen. Raphael Warnock (D-Georgia) Friday for a discussion about high drug costs. Warnock informed them of his proposed legislation to cap those costs and place some of the burden on drugmakers.
Jackie Robinson knows all too well the high costs of prescription drugs and the tough decisions to make. “The carrier called to say the drug plan was going to be $85 a month. It put me in a position where I have to look at my fixed income,” she said, noting that some seniors face thousands of dollars in out-of-pocket expenses per month and on fixed incomes they cannot afford to fill their prescriptions. . “I have friends who have relatives who pay $15,000 a month,” she said.
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Robinson and other seniors shared their concerns with Warnock during a roundtable at Oak Street Health in East Point.
He talked about his Drug Cost Caps for Seniors Act which would cap drug costs at $2,000 a year.
“Right now we have over a million seniors paying more than that in out-of-pocket costs just to afford the medications they need,” Warnock said.
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Health care providers say seniors who cannot afford their prescriptions often delay taking them or stop taking them altogether. “By the time we can see them and take care of them, the damage has already been done,” said Dr. Anita Varkey, internal medicine specialist at Oak Street Health.
The legislation would also put more of the financial burden on drugmakers. “I’m working to get this legislation across the finish line as soon as possible, along with legislation that would allow Medicare to directly negotiate drug prices,” Warnock said. “People are really feeling the pinch. They smell it at the pump, with the groceries. I try to hold greedy corporations to account, whether they are pharmaceutical companies or oil and gas companies,” he said.
“For him to be here and talk about some of the things he advocates for seniors was very important,” Robinson said.
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Warnock also plans to meet with diabetes advocates on Monday to discuss his bipartisan legislation to cap insulin costs.