Calls for greater transparency and price capping

Havertown – September 11, 2019 – Sen. Katie Muth (D-Berks, Chester, Montgomery) joined Sen. Tim Kearney (D-Delaware/Chester) at the Pennsylvania House Democratic Policy Committee hearing on the rising costs of prescription drugs.

The hearing was requested by Rep. Mike Zabel (D-Delaware) and was attended by legislators, affordable health care advocates, and health care professionals.

“It is criminal how pharmaceutical benefit managers (PBMs), pharmaceutical companies, and insurance companies have operated for years, raising the prices of medications just to make a buck off the backs of patients,” said Muth.

“Health care is human right and medications are a part of health care. Access to medication should be guaranteed to all, patient-centered, and not profit-based.”

Muth and Kearney attended the hearing to discuss their legislative effort to cap the price of insulin in Pennsylvania to $100 for a one-month supply. For Muth, the inflation of insulin prices is an example of the pharmaceutical industry pursuing profits over the wellness of patients.

In 1996, a vial of Humalog, one of the most popular analog insulin brands, was sold for $21. Adjusted for inflation, a vial of the same insulin should cost $34.37 a vial today. The retail price for Humalog today averages $300.

“I believe these prices show that companies are making the choice to greatly overcharge patients for the medications they need to survive just to cushion their bottom line,” said Muth.

The senator is hopeful the legislation to cap the prices of insulin will see movement in the upcoming Fall session and that there will be a push to include additional medications and medical equipment in similar legislation. Her goal is to continue to be an advocate for patients, not profits.

“We must change the current system of wealth-care and ensure that everyone has guaranteed, high quality, patient-centered healthcare,” Muth said. “No one should have to ration their medications. No one should have to forgo taking their medications or seeking medical treatment so they can afford rent, food, or child care.

We have allowed this industry to operate unchecked for too long and it is time to mandate transparency and increase regulation.”