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Defining affordability doesn’t come with a standard formula, but with ever-greater numbers of Americans unable to afford prescription drug prices affordability for medication is a problem any way you slice it. This is a growing problem that has yet to be sufficiently addressed by lawmakers in Washington. Efforts have been made to allow Medicare more leverage to negotiate better pricing with Rx manufacturers, but it has been nearly 2 years since the White House Executive Order proposed to give Americans better access to affordable medications. The progress made has been underwhelming.
It becomes even more of a problem with the fact many people with chronic long-term health conditions cannot avoid paying pharmacy drug prices. Uninsured Americans must assume all out-of-pocket costs, and pharma industry experts state that rising OOP costs are a reflection of increasing insurance deductibles, copayments, and coinsurance. An idea being suggested as a potential fix is insurance companies sharing rebates and discounts with consumers at the pharmacy counter, plus having coupons provided by manufacturers lowering patient deductibles so end-user costs go down.
In all honesty there is no simple fix moving forward. Drug prices are estimated to make up about 15% of health care costs in the USA, and industry experts won’t hesitate to tell you – legitimately - that the extremely large amounts of money spent on pharma R&D (research and development) to produce these drugs with the efficacy and safety people need from them must be recouped by pharmaceutical manufacturers. This is healthcare, but it is also business, and we can’t look past that reality.
It’s no simple matter for sure, but what can the average person expect for prescription drug prices in 2022 and moving forward? Let’s have a look at that here.
Here’s the most straightforward answer to the question - many drugs are going up in price again this year. At the end of last month (January) 852 different prescription drugs had price increases averaging 8.1%, and the dollar value for that works out to people needing these drugs paying around $49 more for them as compared to last year. Many of these drugs are specialty medications, and by their nature specialty medications are expensive. Medication prices will usually increase an average of around 5% per year so an 8% jump in prescription drug prices for that many of them is quite the increase.
Around 5% price increases will be the norm for most medications however, the same industry experts say end-user pharmacy drug prices for generic drugs should stay at the same average prices recorded last year, with minor increases only applying to a few of them. Ordering generic drugs from Canada is one means for Americans to save money on prescription medication and improving access to medication from Canada was a core aim with the July 2020 Executive Order we referenced earlier.
The good news is that there are Canadian pharmacies ready and able to serve US customers right now. The benefits of ordering medication online from Canada are significant and something any continental US resident can enjoy themselves immediately once they have signed up for an account. It is common for the prescription drug prices paid to still be much lower than what these people would pay at their local pharmacy. This remains true even when you factor in shipping the medication to the customer’s home in the USA.
There is no shortage of issues requiring the attention of US lawmakers these days but lowering prescription drug prices so that people can take their medication exactly as indicated in their prescription has to be one that is given some priority. As stated, we aren’t seeing the change that is needed at the federal level in the USA, but at the state level there are concerted effort being made to bring down prescription drugs prices.
The State Governors in both Connecticut and New Jersey are striving to cap drug prices so that their constituents can pay less for Rx medication. Governor Lamont in CT is proposing drug prices be held to the rate of inflation plus 2%, while Governor Murphy in NJ has put forward 3 different bills that would cap prices on emergency drugs, investigate drug pricing more thoroughly, and make oversight of pharmacy benefits managers in the State a legal requirement.
The issue and efforts to address it are occurring at a time when prescription drug prices are going up for Medicare recipients too. This applies to Medicare Part D users who pay their average monthly premium in order to pay less for medication. On the first day of 2022 the monthly premium for Medicare Part D went up, and that will equate to prescription drug prices going higher for people who are part of the Federal prescription drug benefit plan. Estimates are one in every five Americans are enrolled in Medicare.
The maximum deductible for Medicare Part D coverage for 2022 is now $480, a 7.8% increase from 2021. Unfortunately, the reality is that prescription drug prices will go up in 2022, and that efforts to slow that trend likely won’t be effective on the large scale anytime in the near foreseeable future. For all these reasons and others it continues to make sense to order prescription meds from Canada.