Rep. Ron Kind unveils plan to lower prescription drug costs

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LA CROSSE, Wis. (WEAU) -- Congressman Ron Kind says rising prescription drug prices in the United States are forcing people to make tough decisions.

"These are life-saving drugs that people need access to and affordability's a crucial area. I've heard personal stories of splitting the drugs that they need, or delaying, or even not purchasing it over a period of time," said Kind.

Now he says he has four steps that will ease the burden for those relying on prescriptions.

Allow medicare to negotiate drug prices, promote price transparency, stop patent abuse, and lower out-of-pocket costs.

Noreen Holmes worked at the La Crosse County Aging Unit for 18 years.

"In the last few years I worked, and I've been retired for four years, there was just an astronomical increase every year. People would come into my office and they would tell me they're using charge cards to pay for their drugs," said Holmes.

Both agree the first step is to be able to negotiate those high prices down.

"It's the only industry that we do business with that we're not allowed to negotiate contract terms with, price for instance, which is crazy. We do it in the veterans system, we do bulk rate purchases from these drug companies. We pass those saving on to our veterans and it works incredibly well, veterans love it. We got to be doing the same thing under medicare," said Kind.

Legislation aimed at Kind's priorities have made their way out of the House Ways and Means committee, which he is a member of.

They are now either in the House or Senate.

"We need to be able to find a way for them to get the prescription drugs they need in an affordable manner, so they can have a good quality of life," said Holmes.

To address the issue, the Trump Administration announced Wednesday it is proposing making it legal to ship certain prescription drugs in from Canada that would be cheaper than in the U.S.

A system Kind says he is mostly in favor of.

Read the original version of this article at www.weau.com.