At the end of last week, U.S. Sen. Rick Scott, R-Fla., unveiled the “Transparent Drug Pricing Act” which, he insisted, “promotes transparency in drug pricing and reduces the cost of prescription drugs for American consumers.”
Scott weighed in on his proposal on Friday.
“American consumers are facing a crisis of rising drugs costs and we can’t wait any longer,” Scott said. “I urge every senator to put themselves in the shoes of a family or a senior living on a fixed income who’s seen their drug costs triple in just a few years. This is about the lives of real people that hang in the balance.
“Every American should know exactly what their prescriptions cost and it’s unfair that consumers in other countries get a better deal than patients in America,” Scott added. “That must change. There is no justification for waiting, we need to address the soaring costs of prescription drugs right now. Drug prices are a serious problem – a problem Washington should have addressed long ago.”
Scott’s proposal focuses on price transparency.
“Pharmacies must inform patients what it would cost to purchase drugs out-of-pocket instead of using their insurance and co-pay. If patients choose to pay out-of-pocket (which is often cheaper), the total cost would be applied to their deductible. Consumers should not be penalized for shopping for the best price. And they must get this information at the point of sale,” Scott’s office offered as some of the rationale behind the proposal.
The senator also called for more choice in the marketplace, something which he hopes to add to with his legislation.
“Insurance companies must inform patients of the total costs of their prescription drugs 60 days prior to open enrollment,” Scott’s office insisted. “This will allow patients to be consumers and shop around for the best deal. Once those costs are set, they cannot be changed for a full 12 months. This will give patients – particularly seniors living on a fixed income – confidence that their drug costs won’t suddenly increase.
Scott also called for more fairness when it comes to prescription drugs.
“Drug companies cannot charge American consumers more for prescription drugs than they charge consumers in other industrialized nations like Great Britain, Canada or Germany. There is no reason why U.S. pharmaceutical companies sell drugs to people in foreign countries far cheaper than what they charge Americans. This provision would sunset after 5 years,” the senator’s office noted.
Kevin Derby can be reached at Kevin.Derby@floridadaily.com.