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State lawmakers to study prescription drug prices this summer

Indiana lawmakers to study prescription drug prices this summer

LEBANON, Ind. (WISH) – It’s something many Hoosiers have experienced; a struggle with the cost of prescription drugs.

This summer, state lawmakers will take up the topic in a summer study.

In Lebanon, life moves at a pace where neighbors know each other. 

76-year-old Navy veteran Phil Kersey and his wife are enjoying retirement. 

“Very well. Not doing a thing!” Kersey said. “Just the way I planned it.” 

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They live on a fixed income, so they’ve got to watch spending when it comes to prescription drugs.

“Fortunately, with my Medicare Part D, it’s not killing me so far.” Kersey said. 

In the coming months, state lawmakers will study prescription drug prices.

Among the things lawmakers plan to examine are how medication moves through the supply chain to consumers, what health insurance companies do to manage drug costs, as well as the role drug maker rebates and discounts have in lowering consumer costs.

“The pharmacy no longer sets the price,” John Cowan, owner of both Cowan Drugs and Parkside Pharmacy in Lebanon explained. “We hardly ever set the price. The price is either set by the Pharmacy Benefit Manager, who is the company that administers your pharmacy insurance card, or a lot of people use a pharmacy discount card.” 

Cowan added that he has seen improvement in prescription drug prices.

“Generic prices are actually going down. Some popular drugs have actually gone generic. Brand name pricing has not gone up nearly as much as it used to. Drug companies used to raise prices 2-3 times a year on brands,” Cowan said.

It’s a topic Carolynn Orner, a mother of four, would like to see state legislators tackle.

“I think it’s a national issue that’s really on the forefront of people’s minds right now.” Orner said.

State lawmakers are still being assigned to this and other summer study topics, according to a senate republican spokeswoman.

Eli Lilly is one of the nation’s largest pharmaceutical manufacturers. The company is headquartered in Indianapolis.

On page 15 within its 2018 Integrated Summary Report, the company stated:

“Lilly recognizes that many people struggle to pay for their medicines. So we’re committed to finding solutions to lower out-of-pocket costs and to implement other changes that can help the U.S. health system work better for patients.”

If you need help paying for your prescription drugs, the State of Indiana has resources.

You can also call (888) 477-2669 which is RX-Indiana, a Partnership for Prescription Assistance Program.

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