Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand and Lourdes CEO Kathy Connerton
BINGHAMTON, N.Y. -
Standing with U.S. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY) on Friday, Lourdes Hospital administrators and pharmacists showed support for federal laws that would control rising drug costs and put a stop to price gouging.
"We've seen in too many cases drug companies are inflating the prices of their drugs just because they can get away with it," said Gillibrand.
“We see patients every day who simply cannot afford vital medications and have to make difficult decisions about whether to put food on the table or fill a costly prescription," said Kathy Connerton, President and CEO of Lourdes Hospital.
Lourdes Pharmacy Director Paul Mollo shared one such story about an elderly couple who wanted to get the shingles vaccine, which is not covered under all Medicare plans.
"When we told them how much it was going to cost them you could see on their face how astonished they were," recalled Mollo.
In the end, the couple received financial assistance through Lourdes.
One of the bills Gillibrand co-sponsored would allow the government to negotiate drug prices for Medicare.
And the Senator's price gouging legislation would put into place federal controls that would require drug makers to report price increases. If those costs exceed medical inflation, the would have to justify their actions.
Gillibrand's office reports that in January 2017, median prices for prescription meds increased by nearly nine percent, roughly four times higher than the overall inflation rate.