IN THE NEWS: Sen. Kelly Chairs Phoenix Hearing on Lowering Prescription Drug Prices 

In case you missed it, this week, Arizona Senator Mark Kelly chaired a U.S. Senate Special Committee on Aging hearing in Phoenix, where heard testimonies from Arizona experts, advocates, and patients impacted by rising prescription drug costs.

The hearing examined potential solutions to the ongoing challenge such as the Kelly-backed bill to cap the monthly price of insulin at $35 that recently passed the House of Representatives, and Kelly’s plan to lower prescription drug costs by allowing Medicare to negotiate prices of certain high-cost drugs, and ensure that drug companies can’t raise the prices at a pace faster than inflation. 

The Arizona witnesses included Dora Vasquez, Executive Director for the Arizona Alliance for Retired Americans; Dr. Suganya Karuppana, Chief Medical Officer at Valle del Sol; Dana Kennedy, AARP Arizona State Director; Jenny Peña, Associate Manager of Pharmacy Patient Advocacy, Banner MD Anderson Cancer Center; and Judy Wilson, a retiree who shared her experience living with multiple sclerosis.

Kelly addresses witnesses at the hearing.

See highlights of the coverage on the hearing below:

Arizona Republic: Arizonans are skipping medications because of cost. Sen. Kelly is advocating to change that

[…] During the hearing, Kelly advocated for a bill he’s backing to cap the out-of-pocket cost of insulin at $35 a month for most Americans, which recently passed the House of Representatives.

He also advocated for other legislative proposals he’s working on, including allowing Medicare to negotiate prices of certain high-cost drugs, stopping drug companies from raising prices faster than inflation and redesigning Medicare Part D to cap out-of-pocket costs at $2,000 per year.

KJZZ Phoenix: Sen. Kelly hears from Arizonans about how to fix high cost of prescription drugs for seniors

Judy Wilson has multiple sclerosis. […]

“When I first began to take Copaxone in 2014, it was priced at approximately $60,000. Here it is now at $75,000,” said Wilson. Wilson told Kelly that she decided to stop using the drug because she couldn’t afford it. And she’s not alone. 

“Thirty-four percent of seniors here in Arizona are concerned that their household won’t be able to afford their needed prescription drugs in the next year,” said Kelly. “And those concerns, they’re not unfounded. Last year, more than one in 10 Americans aged 65 and older skipped a pill because of the cost. One in eight older Americans report to have delayed the retirement because of the cost of their prescription medication.”

Kelly is proposing a series of changes like allowing Medicare to negotiate prices of certain high-cost drugs, capping the monthly price of insulin, and ensuring drug companies can’t raise the prices at a pace faster than inflation. 

Univision: Senador Mark Kelly visitó ASU para promover el plan de insulina

El Senador Mark Kelly viajó desde la capital del país a Arizona para hablar sobre la importancia de controlar los precios de la insulina, un medicamento vital para regular el azúcar en pacientes con diabetes. 

“Why is it so expensive? It shouldn’t be as expensive as it is, so…” [Sen. Kelly] 

El senador demócrata apoya la propuesta aprobada por la cámara baja en Washington que fijaria el precio mensual de la insulina en 35 dólares, ya que afirma que actualmente incluso los pacientes que cuentan con seguro de salud deben gastar cientos de dólares al mes. 

“It’s fundamentally unfair that Americans have to pay this much for prescription drugs.” [Sen. Kelly] 

Arizona’s Family: Sen. Kelly Hosts Hearing on Lowering Prescription Drug Costs

[…] Kennedy and Wilson testified in Phoenix at a Special Senate Field Hearing led by Arizona Senator Mark Kelly. 

“I’ve heard some really horrific stories from seniors about how they can’t afford their prescription drugs. They have to cut pills in half, or they have to decide to buy their medication or groceries.”

Kelly is gathering testimony to help his fight to lower prescription prices and keep pharmaceutical companies in check. […]