According to a West Health/Gallup survey from July, nearly all Democrats (97%) and the majority of Republicans (61%) support empowering the federal government to negotiate lower prices of brand-name prescription drugs covered by Medicare.

That survey indicates that overall, 8 in 10 Americans prefer major government action to control prices over their concerns about it hurting innovation and competition from the pharmaceutical industry.

Unfortunately, most Republicans and a few Democrats elected to Congress do not support laws which will lower drug prices. Thus it appears laws which protect Americans against high price drugs and price gouging by drug companies will not be passed in any federal legislation this year.

However, as indicated by AARP in its September bulletin, rising drug prices have been targeted by the Biden Administration. According to AARP, Americans pay more for drug prices than other countries because of lack of competition in the pharmaceutical industry. The AARP article indicates an executive order of the Biden Administration is a sweeping effort to improve competitiveness for drug prices in the American economy.

The executive order directs the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to work with states to safely import drugs from Canada. It also directs the Department of Health and Human Services to increase support for generic drugs (lower-cost drug options) for patients. The order also encourages the Federal Trade Commission to ban so-called “pay for delay” agreements. Under these “pay for delay” arrangements, brand-name drug companies limit the availability of lower-priced versions of their medications by paying generic drug companies not to produce a competing product.

Hopefully, all elected federal congressional officials will start listening to their constituents and vote to pass laws which will protect their constituents against high drug costs and price gouging. I think how someone would vote on legislation which would resolve the high prescription drug price problem should be asked of any person running for Congress.

I am encouraged that at least President Biden is listening to his American constituents and has acted on this important issue.

Kerry Meagher is a senior underwriting attorney for a national title insurance company and has been a Savage resident since 1987. He’s volunteered to advise voters on their election rights for past 18 years.

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