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Patients talk about challenge of rising drug costs at roundtable with Sen. Rick Scott

Posted at 6:42 PM, Mar 04, 2019
and last updated 2019-03-05 07:14:22-05

NAPLES, Fla. — The rising costs of pharmaceutical drugs has caught the attention of patients who are paying more for their prescriptions. Monday, Florida Senator Rick Scott met with several diabetic patients in Naples to hear their concerns over the hike in prices for their life-saving medications, such as insulin.

"Insulin has been around for a long time," Scott said. "Why is the cost so expensive? I'm going to work to try to get something done that's going to have an impact on the comsumer."

Twelve-year-old Sabine Rivera was the youngest patient to meet with Scott at the roundtable discussion. Sabine has Type One diabetes, and takes insulin three times a day. She said her mother Pamela pays four hundred and fifty dollars a day for the medication, which Sabine will have to take for the rest of her life.

"This is something we all need, Type Ones, to keep ourselves alive," Sabine said. "That cost is going up, and when I'm older, I'm going to pay that somehow."

Scott said that prices for insulin have gone up three times in the past ten years. He wants to work with drug companies and other lawmakers to find a way to bring pharmaceutical costs down. Last week, he met with representatives of drug companies, who cite research costs as a big reason behind the price hikes.

Ed McDermott, a diabetic patient in Naples, said he's paying a hundred and sixty percent more for insulin than he paid five years ago.

"How much money is going toward research, and how much is going into shareholder's pockets?" he asked.

Scott said he would likely support any new bills that would require more transparency on the part of drug companies.

"I've always believed in health care, that if you create more competition that allows people to buy what they want to buy, you're probably going to have an industry that makes more sense," Scott said.

"We want our drug companies to be successful, but being successful is also providing drugs that people can afford," he added.