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Letter to the Editor: Out of Pocket Healthcare Expenses Can Get Costly to Seniors

Published on Tuesday, August 1, 2023 | 3:13 pm

Dear Editor,

Like many elderly patients, my grandmother suffers from arthritis. Watching her journey has made me much more aware of the issues patients face on a routine basis. It has been incredibly frustrating to see out-of-pocket costs continue to rise, and even more frustrating to know greedy middlemen are one of the main reasons.

Pharmacy benefit managers (PBMs) work as the intermediary between drug manufacturers and insurance companies to negotiate deals on the price of medications. Unfortunately, they use their position to prioritize their own gains. PBMs profit based on the price of a medication and have a vested interest in ensuring patients use medications that fit their agenda.

Seniors are one of the most vulnerable populations in our country, and they depend on their medications to treat their needs. The fact that PBMs use this dependency as a way to exploit patients and increase their bottom line is not just unethical—it is harmful.

Thankfully, the DRUG Act seeks to address this conflict of interest and have PBMs earn a flat fee for their services, instead of earning money based on the price of a treatment. If enacted, this legislation could save patients tremendous amounts of money, and save them from lots of frustration at the pharmacy counter. I hope our lawmakers support this bill in Washington, DC.

Janet Hernandez


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