DeLuca, Frankel host Policy Committee roundtable on what drives pharmaceutical costs

PITTSBURGH, May 3 – State Representatives Tony DeLuca and Dan Frankel, both D-Allegheny, today hosted a House Democratic Policy Committee public roundtable discussion on pharmaceutical cost drivers at the Comfort Inn Conference Center.      

DeLuca and Frankel requested the meeting as Democratic Chairman of the House Insurance and Health Committees respectively to bring stakeholders and legislative colleagues from across the state to identify what makes prescription drugs so expensive. Improving patient access to medicines was also a highlight of the discussion.

“The bottom line is people cannot afford their medicine. They are suffering through pain, discomfort and at risk all because they have to make a decision of whether to scale back dosages to pay a utility bill. This just isn’t right. We need our pharmaceutical companies and insurance companies to come together to work out solutions that help make sure people can afford their medicine and afford to get better per the doctor’s orders,” said DeLuca.

"According to what we heard today, more than 80 percent of Pennsylvanians that are asked want aggressive action on pharmacy costs. That's Republicans and Democrats, because the pain of high drug costs is bi-partisan," said Frankel. "This conversation is the beginning step in bringing transparency to a complex industry. Now we must go further, and make both process, and costs, transparent." 

Panel participants included: Corey DeLuca, Director, Clinical Pharmacy Services, Highmark, Inc.; Lauren Rowley, Vice President of State Affairs, Pharmaceutical Care Management Association; Erin Ninehouser, Director of Campaigns & Consumer Engagement, PA Health Access Network; Ashlie VanMeter, Senior Director of State Government Affairs, Association of Accessible Medicines ; Pat Lavella, RPh., Manager of Strategic Pharmacy Initiatives, Value Drug Company; Dr. Adele Towers, President, Allegheny County Medical Society; and Jessica Brooks,CEO, Pittsburgh Business Group on Health.

The meeting is one in a series held across the state on House Democrats’ Plan4PA, focused on putting people first by growing good jobs, providing health care access, creating quality schools, and providing training for jobs in a fair economy. Additional information about the plan is available at www.plan4pa.com.

For more information about the Policy Committee, go to www.pahouse.com/policycommittee.