Re: “Proposed Maine drug-price caps would stall health care advances” (April 23, Page A5):

I find it inappropriate for the commentators (William Smith and Adam Crepeau) to compare life-saving medications to large pickup trucks. Wow. What currently happens is that those who cannot afford the higher-end trucks find something used, or a more affordable option, from which there are plenty to choose. Not so with insulin, cancer medications, heart medications, EpiPens, etc.

And the ability for patent holders to extend their exclusive rights beyond the initial expiration period, which is currently being done to prevent the release of some generic brands, maintains companies’ profit margin beyond what was intended. What is needed is a single-payer system for health insurance, not “creative strategies that link drug prices to their actual value for patients.” What price is the value of a human life?

In the meantime, since it seems unlikely a single-payer system will emerge any time soon, let’s make it affordable for patients to seek their medications in a more affordable venue. There are price caps on what can be paid out for insurance benefits – why not a price cap on what can be paid for life-saving medications to these drug companies? Giving patients the option of buying medications from Canada, where prices are more affordable, is one solution (see Bill Nemitz’s excellent April 21 column, “A lone voice speaks her truth to the guys in suits,” Page B1).

Maybe the huge profits of drug companies, as well as the large salaries and bonuses of their CEOs, could be used to defray the outrageous cost of life-saving medications to those who need them most. If the federal government can’t or won’t do this, and we can do it at the state level, we should.

Isabel Higgins


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