Prescription drug pricing reforms essential for public health, and economy

HARRISBURG, July 12 -- State Representatives Emily Kinkead and Eddie Day Pashinski today hosted a public hearing to discuss the need for drastic reforms to drive down the costs of prescription drugs for the well-being of Pennsylvanians who rely on medications for an improved quality of life.

The hearing, a meeting of the Policy Committee’s Subcommittee on Progressive Policies for Working People, included testimony on how prescription drug pricing is calculated, some of the cost drivers and legislative action needed to regulate pricing. Rep. Elizabeth Fiedler, chair of the subcommittee, and legislators from across the state joined both in person and online for the discussion. 

Sean Zmenkowski, a constituent services advisor for Rep. Kinkead, shared his experience as a type one diabetic reliant on insulin to survive and the career choices he has had to make in order to maintain access to life-sustaining medication.

“Far too many Pennsylvanians have to make painful choices regarding life-saving medications – going without or rationing their medicine – either option is inexcusable,” said state Rep. Emily Kinkead, D-Allegheny. “I remain committed to working with my colleagues to come up with solutions, including a prescription drug importation program, to ensure the prescription drugs our residents need are accessible and affordable. It’s clear we need long-term solutions to help our residents, and we can make it happen.”

Additional testifiers included Jessica Brooks-Woods, President & CEO of Pittsburgh Business Group on Health; Patrick Keenan, Director of Consumer Protections and Policy with Pennsylvania Health Access Network; Kristin Parde, Deputy Vice President State Policy, PhRMA; Jane Horvath, principal founder of Horvath Health Policy; National Academy for State Health Policy’s, Project Director Jennifer Reck and Senior Policy Fellow Drew Gattine; and Kyle McCormick, Owner and Founder of Blueberry Pharmacy.

McCormick shared how Blueberry Pharmacy is revolutionizing affordable access to prescriptions and improving pharmacy and patient relationships.

"Today’s hearing was extremely informative and showed once again how the increasing cost of prescription drugs is driving up health care costs, which is driving up every Pennsylvanian's cost of living," Pashinski said. "I thank Representative Kinkead and Chair Fiedler for co-hosting today’s hearing on prescription drug affordability and access in Pennsylvania and all of our testifiers who are working diligently to find meaningful solutions to this completely unaffordable Health Care System.” 

Full hearing video and testimony is available at