As prescription drug prices continue to skyrocket, insurance companies and Big Pharma are increasing profits by making health care more complicated than ever. My wife and I are both retired and it’s no secret people need more medical care, including medicines, as they age. With declining health comes more complexity just at a time when aging people are least equipped to deal with it.
My wife is recovering both from cancer and a traumatic brain injury. With all the prescriptions she needs filled, we have to manage three different pharmacies: a mail order company, our usual local pharmacy, and a specialized local pharmacy. These groups almost never communicate with one another. As a result, my wife has been forced to go without vital medications for a week or two. This lapse led to an emergency room visit and hospitalization. In other cases, her doctor specifically requested name-brand medications but generic were delivered, which she couldn’t take. But we still had to pay for the generic and the name-brand drugs the doctor ordered. She was also prescribed drugs which were later determined to be dangerous. Once the drugs were purchased, we couldn’t return them or get our money back.
There’s talk in Washington, D.C., about cutting pharmacy middlemen out of the system to lower costs. That’s the tip of the iceberg. Our representatives in Congress need to get rid of them and simplify the process. That would make it harder for pharmaceutical companies to gouge patients, and help save more lives.