Build Back Better can help New Jersey pharmacies. here’s how
I worked in pharmacies for 62 years, was a registered pharmacist for almost 50 years, and had owned a community pharmacy in Teaneck for 34 years. Over the past six decades, I have spoken to countless clients who struggle to afford the high cost of their prescription drugs. One story in particular has always stuck with me.
A few years ago I had a client who suffered from severe melanoma. Every three months, the price of the drugs she was taking doubled and sometimes tripled until it was finally more than her monthly mortgage.
I believe we live in one of the greatest countries in the world, where no one should be forced to choose between the drugs they need to survive or put a roof over their head.
I couldn’t stand idly by and just watch my client, who was in pain and needed this medication to treat her life-threatening condition, finding herself in an impossible and incredibly unfair position.
I decided to write to the CEO of the pharmaceutical company that made the expensive drug. Without giving too much thought to the consequences this might have, I decided to copy my State Senator, New Jersey Senate Majority Leader Loretta Weinberg, onto the correspondence.
If you know Weinberg, you know she is a force to be reckoned with. This is why she is known as the conscience of the New Jersey legislature.
Shortly after sending the letter, I received a call from an executive at the pharmaceutical company. It was clear that they had heard from Weinberg as well, and they asked what they could do to resolve the situation and make the senator happy.
We decided that the best course of action was for the drug company to ship their drugs to my client for free, which she agreed to do. Sadly, she passed away several months later due to complications from her illness.
While this particular client was able to get her life-saving medications free of charge, not everyone has a state senator and community pharmacist in their corner. The truth is, one in four Americans struggles to afford their prescription drugs, and Americans pay more for prescription drug prices than anyone in the world. We need Congress to solve this problem.
It is truly unfortunate when a pharmacist, who is not a politician in the area of providing services to citizens, has to be the advocate for our customers. It shows how bad our system is and how much things need to change so that our friends and neighbors don’t have to make heartbreaking choices like slicing their diabetic test strips in half, rationing or skipping drugs by because of soaring costs.
Reducing the cost of prescription drugs is the number one concern of so many families. Polls show more than nine in ten Americans are in favor of Medicare having the power to negotiate lower drug prices between parties.
Pharmaceutical companies have dictated the prices of prescription drugs for far too long, and the Build Back Better Act will help stop it.
It is up to our members of Congress to take action and pass the Build Back Better Act that would give Medicare the power to negotiate lower prices for drugs. Allowing Medicare to negotiate lower prices for prescription drugs would save patients more than $ 150 billion and create $ 500 billion in savings for the federal government. The Build Back Better Act will also cap out-of-pocket expenses for the elderly at $ 2,000 per year, make insulin more accessible and affordable, and stop the big pharma prices rising faster than the rate of inflation. .
I urge our leaders in the House and Senate to quickly pass the Build Back Better Act so that we can bring real relief to the American people at the drugstore counter and save lives.
Michael Fedida is a community pharmacist and owner of J&J Pharmacy in Teaneck, New Jersey.