WREX: Expert at Mercyhealth Weighs-In On Potential Reforms to Reduce Rx Drug Costs

You go to the doctor and get your prescription, but sometimes the price tag could come as a shock.

“A medication that costs $100 here, for say a 30 day supply for a medication, could in a foreign country cost $10,” says Don Janczak, the director of pharmacy with Mercyhealth.

So why are prices so high? Some health experts blame a lack of competition in the pharmaceutical industry.

“Like any other industry, if you don’t have that competition then you’re really driving that price,” Janczak says.

Increasing competition is one way President Donald Trump says he plans to slash prescription drug costs. He says one way to do that is by reforming the 340B program, a resource that allows hospitals to sell prescriptions at a lower cost.

“So many patients, especially in our community, are struggling with just the copay or just the amount that they have to participate in the cost of that medication,” Tom Carey, the director of pharmacy at SwedishAmerican says.

SwedishAmerican is one health system in our area that uses the 340B program. Depending on what changes the federal government decides to do to it, Swedes says it could have a negative impact on its patients.

“We will actually have a lot of patients in this community who will immediately end up paying more for their medications,” Carey says.

It’s still not clear when those reforms might take effect, but health experts say they hope to start learning more details sooner rather than later.

Part of Trump’s plan also includes lifting a gag order put on pharmacists. Right now, that gag order prevents them from discussing cheaper options with consumers.

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