OHIO, USA — During a virtual webinar held Thursday morning, Ohio leaders said their hands are tied at the state level, which is why they're calling on Congress to pass a bill to reduce drug prices for Ohioans and all Americans by giving Medicare the power to negotiate lower drugs costs.
"We know from polling that 1 in 4 Americans have trouble affording their medications. We also know already that 1 in 10 Americans are regularly rationing their drugs," said Ohio Rep. Allison Russo, D-Upper Arlington.
John Kennedy with Insulin for All Ohio says he's a type 1 diabetic and has been for the last 30 years. To him, lowering costs for prescription drugs like insulin is a moral issue. He says the bill, known as H.R.3, would no doubt save lives.
"Insulin is our oxygen. Without it, we die. So let's not waste any more time. It's imperative for Congress to stand up and do the right thing," said Kennedy.
These Ohio leaders and advocates say the COVID-19 pandemic has only made things worse.
"Many people are making very impossible choices between survival, paying for rent, paying for food and paying for their life saving medications," said Russo.
Advocates for lowering the cost of drugs say the pandemic isn't just slowing down your Amazon orders, it's also slowing down the supply and people's access to medicine.
"If I know that I can't get my insulin on time, or whatever my medication, my mother, who it's cheaper for her to order online, she's ordering double the amount," said advocate Lourdes Barroso de Padilla, "because it's slowing down, she's not getting it in a timely manner."
The bill passed the House in a previous session, but was never taken up in the Senate. Now, House lawmakers are re-introducing it, in hope to pass it again.