2017-05-19 / Letters

Time to do something!

To the Editor:

Ever wonder why nothing gets done about the outrageous soaring cost of prescription drugs? I do. So recently a family member was mugged by the drug / hedge fund / private equity interests in this country. A simple medication many of us are familiar with, Erythromycin, was prescribed for a diagnosed infection. Many of us are familiar with this drug from raising children who suffered from ear infections. Cheap and effective is how it is viewed. This is no longer true. A 30 day supply in pill form cost $630. If you are a senior citizen, you cannot use coupons because the manufacturer expressly states the coupons are not eligible for Medicare patients. The result is insurance pays for $470 of the cost. The out of pocket cost for the patient is $157. In the year 2010, a 30 day supply of this drug is reported to have cost $9.

Now, how did this happen. A company called Arbor Pharmaceuticals owned by a private equity firm now owns the formulary for this drug, which it purchased from Abbott Laboratories. Arbor employs 600 people, 500 of which are salespeople. Arbor is owned by JW Asset Management, and in turn that firm is minority owned by world famous KKR. These facts were revealed by an investigative report by Robert Langreth from Bloomberg News on December 16, 2016. Readers are encouraged to search this information on line to verify the facts.

How can this be fixed? The New York State Retirement System has an investment in KKR. Thomas P. Di Napoli is sole trustee for the Investment Portfolio. He must immediately withdraw that investment, as New York residents should, under no circumstances allow investments in companies that are arbitrarily forcing senior citizens, Medicare, and insurance companies to pay prohibitive prices for these drugs. Such practices force up the Consumer Price Index, thereby contributing to inflation.

In case the executives at JW Asset Management and KKR are unaware senior citizens of this country must survive on FIXED not VARIABLE monthly incomes. Managing household incomes is a challenge for all, and especially so for retirees.

Lastly the actions of these companies directly affect the budgets of municipalities that have chosen to “pay as you go” for retiree health benefits.

So. Legislators of Nassau County, New York State, and Congress should take action to solve the ongoing problem of prescription drug out of control pricing.

Matthew R. Cody

Return to top

Post new comment

The content of this field is kept private and will not be shown publicly.
By submitting this form, you accept the Mollom privacy policy.