Senator Cassidy addresses Louisiana’s high prescription drug costs

Senator Cassidy on high prescription drug costs

LAKE CHARLES, LA (KPLC) - The cost of some prescription drugs continue to rise.

Thankfully, the need for those in Louisiana to find affordable care hasn’t gone unnoticed.

U.S. Senator Bill Cassidy addressed the issue.

“If you have a diabetic who can no longer afford their medicine because the price of medicine has quadrupled over recent years," Cassidy said. "Something must be done for that patient.”

So, why are the costs so high? George Paret who’s been a pharmacist for 42 years says getting a drug patented is not an easy task.

“The average drug takes 30 to 40 million dollars to hit the market,” Paret said.

Senator Cassidy says despite the expense, he’s made efforts to lower costs in Louisiana.

“Hopefully, we’ll find cures for cancer, a cure for Alzheimer’s, other terrible diseases,” Cassidy said. “But we have to make sure they’re affordable.”

Cassidy says he met with a pharmacist out of Hammond, who mentioned a Gag Clause the he says scams customers out of money.

“He brought that to me. Others brought it to other senators," Cassidy said. "We worked on the bipartisan law that has now been signed into law by President Trump, which outlaws Gag Clauses.”

The clause prevents pharmacists from telling consumers when there are cheaper options available and when it may be cheaper to pay for the medication out of pocket.

Cassidy co-sponsored a bill in 2018 that would prohibit those clauses.

However, the Senator says the work is not yet over.

“What do you do about these new medicines that are coming out that the drug company can set a price at any price they want to?" Cassidy said. "We have to do something about that and that’s what this hearing is on.”

Senator Cassidy says he will continue to fight for reduced costs.

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