NH health-care advocates call for lower prescription drug prices
June 17, 2021
Daniel Roberge, a professional chef in Portsmouth, takes medication for depression and migraines, among health issues. He said they’re extremely expensive.
“It’s $650 for a shot,” he said. “Without these shots, I’m seeing an increase in migraine days that take away from my ability to work and live a fulfilling life.”
Roberge talked about his experience during a webinar hosted by Protect Our Care NH on Thursday, at which New Hampshire health-care advocates called for the lowering of prescription drug prices.
Protect Our Care is a national group that fights to protect and strengthen the Affordable Care Act, according to its website.
The webinar occurred on the same day the Supreme Court upheld the Affordable Care Act as constitutional in a 7-2 decision, according to Reuters. (See related story, Page A1.)
The webinar featured state Sen. Tom Sherman (D-Rye), a gastroenterologist and the state Senate’s only physician, who has served as the chair of the Senate Health and Human Services Committee.
He said drug corporations are charging much higher prices than they should.
“It’s morally and ethically wrong to be denying care for profit,” he said.
Sherman said inflated drug prices have not been a major focus in the State House and wasn’t fully addressed in this year’s state budget. He said prices for EpiPens, insulin and other drugs have been on the rise, which could be detrimental for some New Hampshire citizens.
Joan Widmer, a registered nurse and former executive director of the New Hampshire Nurses’ Association, said some of her patients came to the emergency room because they did not have access to the drugs they needed to survive.
“They were forgoing much-needed insulin,” she said.
She said some people were taking medications every other day rather than once a day to save money, which resulted in even greater costs from emergency room visits.
Dana Hackett of the Lakes Region said she has struggled to pay for medication for her daughter, who was diagnosed with autoimmune depression. Hackett, who has been out of work since the pandemic started, said the estimated cost of her daughter’s medication ranged from $5,000-$15,000 a month.
She said it was emotionally draining to see her daughter go through multiple blood draws to test medications so she could receive insurance benefits.
“The idea that I would have to put my child through unnecessary medical procedures just to have her insurance cover a medication she needs to survive is heartbreaking,” she said.
Jay Gupta of Nashua, director of pharmacy and integrative health at Harbor Homes, said the solution to this problem is to find out where the company’s profits go, and to redirect it if necessary.
“If we don’t go to the root of the problem, we will not find the issue,” he said.