Letter to the Editor: High cost of prescription drugs

Year after year, Americans pay the highest brand-name drug prices in the world. Congress, the administration, and importantly, our own Delaware legislators must take action now to cut prescription drug prices.

My asthma medicines are eating up my savings. I take Symbicort which retails at $1,200 and Spiriva retails at $1,600. I take several other brand medications where the retail is almost as expensive. Next year, when I turn 65, I will not be permitted to use the manufacturer’s coupon because I’ll be on Medicare. In searching for Prescription D supplements, I could pay between $9,000 and $35,000 per year for my medications. This is more than my Social Security benefit.

That’s why I’m so glad AARP is urging federal and state policymakers to Stop Rx Greed by cracking down on price-gouging drug companies. AARP’s goal is to help lower drug prices for all Americans through decisive actions and solutions aimed not only at the federal level but also at the state level. AARP is supporting the Prescription Drug Pricing Act, a bipartisan bill that would cap out-of-pocket drug expenses for Medicare beneficiaries and require drug companies to pay a penalty if they raise prices higher than the rate of inflation.

Here in Delaware, the average annual cost of prescription drug treatment increased 57.8 percent between 2012 and 2017, while the annual income for Delawareans only increased 8.6 percent. Believe it or not, last year 31 percent of Delawareans stopped taking their medication as prescribed because of the cost.

No American should be forced to choose between paying for the medicines they need and paying for food, rent, or other necessities.

Debra Coulbourne