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There Is A Fight Brewing On Beacon Hill Over Legislation Aimed At Lowering Prescription Drug Costs

When 86-year-old Kiki Chaiton showed up at her local pharmacy to pick up her cholesterol medication, she got what she thought was some welcome news.

“They made a generic,” said Chaiton, who lives with her 92-year-old husband in Lynn. “I said, ‘That’s wonderful. It’s going to be cheaper because generics are cheaper.’”

Instead, she paid $300 for a three-month supply, which was more than double the cost of the brand-name drug. And, she says the generic drug caused a debilitating side effect.

“I told the doctor I’m not taking them anymore,” said Chaiton.

Chaiton says she knows other seniors who defy doctors’ orders. Faced with the high cost of drugs and making ends meet, she says they’ll skip a day or take only part of a pill.

“We hear from patients all the time that are faced with impossible choices because of the high cost of drugs,” said Brian Rosman, policy and government relations director of Health Care For All. “People have to make choices all the time between drugs and food, drugs and housing.”

Health Care For All is backing legislation that would require pharmaceutical companies to report the 10 most expensive drugs and any drug with a price increase of more than 50 percent in five years.

“All we’re asking is for the drug industry to live up to what everybody else has to live up to,” said Rosman. “They’re responsible to us, the public. We pay for these outrageous prices for drugs. It’s time that we had some knowledge about what goes into those prices.”

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