Local doctor, Georgia representative call for lower medicine costs
AUGUSTA, Ga. (WRDW/WAGT) - It’s a practice that’s supposed to help insured patients save money on their medication, but one doctor says her patients are digging deeper in their wallets for name-brand medicine.
A Georgia bill that would stop the middleman from making a profit off saving you money on prescriptions could change that.
The purpose of a benefits manager, also known as the middleman between your doctor and your preferred pharmacy, is to negotiate the cost of prescription drugs.
But the problem, the middleman gets paid depending on how much savings they carve out.
Instead of that savings passed onto the consumer, it’s going to the middleman, while patients pay high prices at the pharmacy.
“They will cut their medicine in half. They will take it every other day. And it’s not fair. It really isn’t fair,” said Dr. Donna Adams-Pickett,
House Bill 343, the Lowering Prescription Drug Costs for Patients Act, would regulate the role of the pharmacy benefit manager negotiating the discount, and pocketing about half of it.
Donna Adams-Pickett, along with Representative Mark Newton have been fighting for this bill.
“We’ve seen that incredible difficulty paying for medications, in particular brand name medicines, not the generics that we most often like to get. We realized we really need something that if there’s something that can be done to help make that more affordable, that’s where House Bill 343 does that,” said Newton.
It’s passed the House, the House Rules Committee, and the House floor. After a Senate hearing, the waiting game begins for a vote in the Senate Health Committee.
However, Newton says time is running out.
“The 27th and 29th of March are our last two days to get this important bill passed and provide this protection for patients,” he said.
Now in the hands of Georgia Senate leadership, Adams-Pickett says she hopes they’ll prioritize a healthy Georgia.
“As far as I’m concerned, this bill is a life and death measure. It really is,” she said.
You may be wondering what you can do to make sure this bill passes. Newton recommends you call the Commissioner of Insurance and the Lieutenant Governor, so they know how important this is to your everyday life and your health.
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