How to lower the cost of prescription drugs

The high cost of prescription drugs is a common complaint and was in this newspaper in the Feb. 9 editorial, “Out-of-control health system”. The solution is simple. We have already done it. If our Congress would vote to allow Medicare to bargain with drug companies, like the VA already does, prices would drop significantly.

Drug companies were not penalized by the Affordable Care Act. Their profits and stock prices are soaring. Drug companies claim they need high costs to do research, but the vast majority of drug research is done by the government and at universities. Drug companies take over in the later stages when a drug is ready for testing on people. They focus on drugs that folks need to take for life and drugs that are still on patent. And they market aggressively.

They patent profitable “me too” drugs which are no better than the ones we already have. Their high costs are related to marketing, profits and administration. Drug companies spend enormous amount of money on lobbying and contribute massively to our legislators and to our FDA. We need to elect legislators who care about us and are not beholden to the pharmaceutical industry.

Leslie Hartley Gise, M.D.