This week representatives from Minnesota Senator Amy Klobuchar’s staff are traveling around the southeastern part of the state to hold roundtables on a growing problem.
Rising prescription drug costs.
“It really hit home because on a daily basis, with multiple patients each day, we face the issues of expense of medicines which are preferred, new and unaffordable,” said Winona Health Physician Dr. Daniel Parker.
During the hour-long discussion Klobuchar staff members, local health officials and concerned residents discussed the problems and potential solutions.
From more oversight from the government to more transparency from drug manufacturers, health officials say the current drug prices are not just unethical, but also life-threatening.
Doctors in the Winona area say they see patients who deliberately take less effective and more dangerous drugs just because the prices are lower.
“I work in a team environment where the people that assist me, and my patients, spend a large portion of their day trying to figure out what is the most affordable option for patients,” said Parker.
Even with mentions from President Trump in the State of the Union, making prescription drugs more affordable will not be an easy fix according to some health officials.
“I wasn’t really aware of all of the legislative options that were being explored and I guess I take a little heart in that. But I think that the profit motive for the pharmaceutical companies is so powerful that they will find ways to avoid legislative mandates,” said Parker.
Klobuchar has already introduced multiple bills in Congress.
Among them, aiming to increase competition and allowing Medicare to negotiate prices.
Representative’s from the Senator’s staff will stop in five other cities this week.