Take care of constituents first

To the editor:

Honestly, when I asked Congressman Hagedorn at a recent town hall whether he’d support allowing Medicare to negotiate prescription drug prices, I don’t know exactly what I was expecting, but I sure didn’t expect the answer I actually got.

I’d heard that AARP had done an analysis and determined that Medicare could have saved $14.4 billion in 2017 alone if it were buying drugs at the same prices the Veterans Administration had negotiated. Also, that other countries negotiate with drug companies and end up paying 1/3 to 1/2 the prices we pay for the exact same drugs. But, unlike the VA, Medicare isn’t allowed to negotiate.

Congressman Hagedorn’s answer was basically a no. That we’d never want to kill innovation. That drug companies needed to recoup development costs. That other countries can pay less because they negotiate with drug companies. But they are piggybacking off of us. And at one point he said, “But let’s not try to make the whole world have to pay exorbitant prices and go broke.”

So it’s OK for us to pay exorbitant prices and go broke?

The huge hikes in prices of long-established drugs are manifestations of price gouging, not drug companies recouping development costs and taking reasonable profits.

Our congressman should care more about his constituents. Drug companies and other countries have demonstrated ample ability to look after themselves.

Diane Hanson