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What They Are Saying: Make Medicine Affordable Tour Highlights Strong Bipartisan Support for Prescription Drug Affordability Board

"Gov. Youngkin please sign these bills!"

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From Freedom Virginia:

What They Are Saying: Make Medicine Affordable Tour Highlights Strong Bipartisan Support for Prescription Drug Affordability Board

Richmond, VA – Ahead of the April 8th Governor’s action deadline, community leaders, patient advocates, and legislators came together across the Commonwealth to urge Gov. Youngkin to sign legislation to establish a Prescription Drug Affordability Board as part of the Make Medicine Affordable tour.

Virginians like Savannah Morris of Henrico are calling on Governor Youngkin to sign the Prescription Drug Affordability Board. In a press conference on Wednesday April 3rd in Richmond, she said “This bill will, in short, save lives… I’m hoping [Governor Youngkin] sees this is something that affects everyone. It’s not a one side of the aisle thing, everyone has chronic illnesses, everyone can have a disability. Sickness does not discriminate.”

Watch: 

David Harper spoke at the Roanoke stop about struggling to afford his medication, which has gone up in price while his fixed income has stayed the same.

“Imagine having a drug you need to stay alive more than doubling in price,” David Harper said at the Roanoke Make Medicine Affordable Tour stop. “How many people can say their pay doubled in the last 10 years?’

Mara Shapiro of Charlottesville shared her story at a tour stop there and emphasized that without her insurance she would not be able to afford medicine she needs to stay alive.

“If I were to lose my insurance, I would have to front all that money in order to stay alive,” Mara Shapiro said at the Charlottesville stop of the Make Medicine Affordable Tour. “Even people who have insurance may face astronomical costs if they have unreasonable deductibles or poor prescription drug coverage. In other words, the price of just staying alive is just too high.”

Senator Bill Stanley published an Op-ED in the Cardinal News directly calling on the Governor to sign the Prescription Drug Affordability Board Legislation. 

“The undisputed truth is that the skyrocketing costs of prescription drugs are forcing many people to make impossible choices. In my district and all over the commonwealth, too many have to choose whether to fill their prescriptions or put food on the table or keep a roof over their head. Too many are splitting pills or skipping doses because they’re trying to stretch needed medication out until their next paycheck. […]

I hope that Governor Youngkin will hear the voices of Virginians who overwhelmingly support this legislation, regardless of their partisan preferences. And it is my sincere hope that he will sign this legislation, which will send a clear message to Virginians struggling with high prescription drug costs that help is on the way.” 

Organizations and Community Leaders across the commonwealth have stepped up in support of the Prescription Drug Affordability Board 

In an Op-ed for the Virginian-Pilot, Hampton NAACP Branch President Gaylene Kanoyton said “Black and Latino Medicare beneficiaries over age 65 were 1.5 times as likely to report out-of-pocket prescription drug cost challenges than white Medicare beneficiaries. They were twice as likely to forego medication access because of high drug costs. It’s time to finally address the skyrocketing cost of prescription drugs and the Prescription Drug Affordability Board is the way to do that.”

Dr. Greg Gelburd of Charlottesville also shared his support for the bill in an Op-Ed in the Virginia Mercury. “As someone who worked in the pharmaceutical industry as well, I can offer a unique perspective on the industry’s fallacious arguments against the drug affordability board. While I recognize the costs of research and development, these costs are generally recuperated within a few years. After that, drug companies make pure profit. And as they rake in their massive profits, nearly one in four Virginians are not taking their medication as prescribed simply because they cannot afford to. Research and development is worthless if patients can’t access the lifesaving drugs the best scientists produce.”

Additionally, over 100 Virginia medical professionals, of varying backgrounds and specialties, signed a letter in support of the board and urged Gov. Youngkin to sign legislation to establish it.

Legislators participated in a Digital Day of Action in which they highlighted the importance of establishing a Prescription Drug Affordability Board. 

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Freedom Virginia is a nonpartisan 501(c)4 organization committed to building a Commonwealth where all Virginia families have the freedom to thrive. Freedom Virginia advances economic security policies through grassroots activism, voter engagement and legislative advocacy. Our efforts began in 2020 and since then we’ve pushed for a more economically secure Virginia by sharing real stories about Virginians’ lack of access to affordable healthcare, education, energy, and the need for policies that foster more safety for families. Visit our website at freedomva.org to learn more. 
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