NV Congressman wants companies to justify drug price hikes

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WASHINGTON (GrayDC) Prescription drugs can get expensive quickly. One Nevada congressman wants pharmaceutical companies to justify drug price increases.

Stahis Panagides shells out about $22,000 a year on his prescription medicine (pictured above) to treat Parkinson's disease. (Source: Gray DC)

Stahis Panagides, has Parkinson's disease. Although there is no cure, all these pills help the 81-year-old man have a better quality of life. But it comes at a high cost.

"22,000 dollars," says Panagides. "Out of my pocket."

Panagides is not alone in struggling to pay for the rising costs of prescriptions.

Nevada Representative Steven Horsford (D-NV) is sponsoring legislation that would require drug manufacturers to publicly justify large price increases.

"I do think it will provide a level of pressure to force those drug manufacturers to ultimately reduce their cost," said Horsford.

But Tom Schatz, President of Citizens Against Government Waste (CAGW), said price controls and releasing information about price increases will ultimately hurt people like Panagides.

"If they cannot get back the money that they invested, they're not going to produce more drugs," said Schatz.

He says there are better ways to lower drug costs.

"Competition. More generic drugs, faster approval at the FDA and not having the government tell the drug companies what to do," said the President of CAGW.

Horsford's bill had unanimous support in the Ways & Means Committee and awaits a final vote in the House, as part of a larger piece of drug transparency legislation.

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