In a Senate hearing last week, Senator Tim Kaine questioned a Trump Administration official about what they are doing to address the high prescription drug prices that hurt Virginians – many of whom struggle to make ends meet. At the hearing, Kaine shared a letter with his Senate colleagues and the witnesses from Andrew Vintner from Great Falls. Vintner wrote to Senator Kaine to share how the cost of a drug to treat leukemia is putting a major financial burden on his family. Kaine has expressed concern about the high cost of prescription drugs and has introduced legislation to bring down health care costs by allowing Medicare to negotiate the best possible price of prescription drugs to cut costs.
Here’s an excerpt of the letter Vintner sent to Senator Kaine in October that Kaine shared at the hearing:
“In the United States, Gleevec, a drug that effectively cures several forms of leukemia, costs approximately $159 to manufacture for a year's dose…In the United States, there is no available generic, and the brand name drug's market cost is $146,000 a year. This is not a drug that consumers can simply choose not to take – to be blunt, they will quite literally die of cancer.
“My father is being treated for CML, one of the leukemias that is effectively curable by Gleevec. The cost of this drug is a major financial burden on our family…Many online who are not as fortunate as my family have been forced to choose between having Gleevec, and keeping their homes.
“This is, to me, an absolutely unacceptable exploitation of extremely vulnerable Americans who have quite literally no other options to get this lifesaving treatment without searching for loopholes in the law or outright breaking it. Preventing this exploitation is something every American can agree on, an issue that has lives in the balance. I know these are trying, divided times, but this issue is one that I hope all in Congress and in the nation as a whole may come together on.”