Federal attention needed to correct high drug prices

This should not be something that happens in the United States of America — but it does.

After the Sun-Gazette ran a report exploring the rising cost of prescription drugs and how much insurance pays, we explored the issue further with our weekly webpoll, the results of which are published on Thursdays.

In one way, the results were astonishing. In another way, they were much what we expected as they fall in line with what we hear from readers and people in the community on an ongoing basis.

While 35 percent of the respondents said their insurance covers most of their costs and 9 percent said this issue has not affected them to the point that they care, more than half indicated having problems with paying for drugs that have been prescribed by a doctor.

A total of 28 percent indicated insurance covers some but not enough of the cost, and another 5 percent said they need drugs that are becoming cost-prohibitive.

Of greatest concern are the 23 percent who said they often skip taking prescribed medications because of cost.

We suspect that many members of the elderly population fall into that category.

This should alarm us all. Who wants to think of their aging parents skipping medicines meant to help them maintain their health? Who wants to think of growing old and feeling forgotten and uncared for because of this predicament?

But it’s not just the elderly. There have been numerous news accounts in recent years about what happens when the drugs become too expensive. Remember the Epi-pen scandal of a few years back? Or how about diabetics going to Canada for their insulin because of a dramatic price increase?

We do not believe the results of our simple poll are all that unrealistic, given a 2018 Kaiser poll that indicated 80 percent of Americans find drug prices to be unreasonable.

The Kaiser poll also revealed a significant majority who believe the federal government isn’t doing enough to correct this issue.

It’s about time that the government did something to truly correct this problem and make much-needed prescription drugs affordable again for Americans in our own country.