July 14, 2017 News

NBC News: Prescription Price Crisis? 28 Million Americans See Spike in Drug Prices

June 11

Ali Velshi, Allison Girvin, Ben Popken and Michael Cappetta

At least 28 million Americans have experienced a spike in the cost of their prescription medications in the past 12 months. And for 4 million of them, the price was so high they walked away without their prescription altogether, according to a new Consumer Reports survey.

“We are nearing a crisis point with what Americans can afford for medication, and it’s scary,” concluded Consumer Reports. “And honestly, as far as we can tell, there are no brakes on it right now. Congress may have a few things up its sleeve, but we’re still waiting,”

It was the one topic that both presidential candidates could agree on during the campaign trail last year — prescription drug prices have become too high.

The reasons behind the spike in drug prices is complicated, but experts point to basic market economics.

“There’s nothing that puts a stop to it,” said Lisa Gill of Consumer Reports. “Companies can charge whatever they want.”

There are several parties involved that contribute to the rising cost of prescription medications: The drug company that manufactures the drug, and the insurance company that pays for you to have the drug.

What you may not know is there’s a middle man — called a pharmacy benefit manager, or PBM. That’s who negotiates prices with the drug companies and the pharmacies, on behalf of the insurance companies.


Patients For Affordable Drugs is the only independent national patient organization focused exclusively on achieving policy changes to lower the price of prescription drugs.