Americans pay the highest prescription drug prices in the world. I’m fortunate that I presently don’t need many prescription drugs — knock on wood — but many of my family and friends are not as fortunate. They struggle with the high cost of medicines necessary to maintain good health. We need policies that combat this crisis — not make it worse.

A bipartisan budget deal passed recently by Congress calls for the Medicare Part D coverage gap — the so-called “doughnut hole” — to be closed a year early, by 2019. In addition, the budget deal requires the big drug companies to pay more so older Americans can pay less for their drugs.

Unfortunately, and not unexpectedly, drug manufacturers don’t agree. In fact, they want Congress to reduce their financial responsibility when a beneficiary is in the coverage gap. This way, they can pass even more costs onto older Americans.

Many seniors struggle to afford their prescription drugs as it is. They don’t need drug manufacturers tacking on even higher prices to their expensive drugs.

This is a call to action. We need our members of Congress to resist the political pressure from big pharmaceutical. Prescription drug prices are out of control and for those who rely on life-saving medications, there is no choice. These companies have a choice. They should do the right thing and realize that lives are at stake.

I hope you will join me in reaching out to Sen. Susan Collins right away to urge her to stand strong for Maine and to say no to the drug companies. This is critical, and we must make our voices heard right away before the next vote on March 23.

Bob McIntire

Hallowell


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