Sen. Scott wants companies to ‘provide drugs people can afford’

Writer: Jack Lowenstein
Published: Updated:
Photo by WINK News.

Skyrocketing drug prices means many Americans can’t afford to pay their bills. WINK News reported previously about people who are rationing their insulin because the vials could cost thousands of dollars.

Sen. Rick Scott (R-Fla.) said he want patients with diabetes in the state to have access to affordable insulin they need to live.

WINK News spoke to a child with diabetes who said she is already nervous for her future bank account.

Sabine Rivera has Type 1 diabetes.

“One thing I know that is that when I grow up, I’m going to have to pay for this,” Rivera said.

With her condition at 12 years old, Rivera already understands what it means to have to pay for insulin that she needs to live, which also creates a lifelong worry.

“It’s $450 a month, and that’s without doctor visits,” said Pamela Rivera, Rivera’s mother. “The insulin alone is an exorbitant amount of money.”

The Rivera family joined with other families and health care professionals to tell Sen. Scott their fears about the soaring price of prescription drugs.

“We want drug companies to be successful,” Scott said in response to the concerned families. “But being successful is also providing drugs people can afford. And if a small handful of people can afford the drug you’re creating, that’s not being very helpful”

Pharmacist Michael Aquino of Naples Pharmacy told WINK News one way for people to save is to start by asking questions of their pharmacists and doctors.

“Ask the doctors for samples,” Aquino said. “Sometimes doctors have samples that they’re given from the manufacturers from the drug reps. That can help a patient.”

Aquino said pharmaceutical companies raise their prices at the beginning of January or during the month of June if they don’t at the beginning of the year.

In an article by The Hill, it reports drugmaker Eli Lilly will introduce a cheaper version of its insulin that will sell at half the price.

The Rivera’s understand the urgency paying for medicine versus other necessities.

“It’s heartbreaking for me, and I don’t like to think about it,” Pamela said.

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