Senator Deeds pushing for bill to limit prescription drug costs

Published: Feb. 13, 2023 at 10:46 AM EST
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CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. (WVIR) - 25th District Senator Creigh Deeds (D) is championing a bill to limit prescription drug costs.

Mara Shapiro lives with Crohn’s and Addison’s disease. She says this proposed legislation could change her life for the better.

“Without this medication, I simply wouldn’t be able to survive,” Shapiro said. “I’ll need to be on medication for the rest of my life to keep it in check.”

“Some people have to pay exorbitant amounts for the drugs that they need to live,” Sen. Deeds said.

The senator is a co-patron of a bill that would set a cap on prescription costs and create a governor-appointed board to make decisions on pricing.

“I’ve known friends of mine that have had issues with their insurance, or haven’t been able to afford their medication. They have to stop the drug, and then when they’re able to restart it, it doesn’t work as well and then they have to abandon that therapy all together,” Shapiro said.

Taking Stelara through a self-injection keeps her Crohn’s disease in remission. Solu-Cortef is the medication Shapiro takes to manages Addison’s disease. If she loses access to it, she would lose her life.

“While the prices of the Solu-Cortef medication aren’t as astronomically high as the Stelara is, there’s still a significant cost burden, I would say because there’s no alternative. I don’t have any other option other than this one particular drug. So for example, if the price of Solu-Cortef were to triple tomorrow, I’d have no other option and have to pay that because it keeps me alive,” Shapiro said.

The price tag on Stelara is upwards of $20,000, which insurance companies are sometimes hesitant to pay. Shapiro says she worries every month about possibly having to pay out-of-pocket.

Sen. Deeds says there is a lot of work to get this bill passed in the House of Delegates.

“I’ve been told that the governor doesn’t support this measure. I expect this bill to be significantly changed, or to have extreme difficulty getting passed in the House,” the senator said. “This shouldn’t be a partisan issue. Bringing down costs for for Virginians ought to be something we all care about.”

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