RADIO ADDRESS: We aren’t here to represent Big Pharma, we are here to represent Maine people.

Posted: July 12, 2018 | Senator Jackson, Weekly Radio Address

Maine people should not have to jump through hoops just to purchase medication they need to live and work. It’s high time we took action to lower the cost of prescription drugs. We aren’t here to represent Big Pharma, we are here to represent Maine people.


Hello, this is Senator Troy Jackson of Allagash. Thank you for tuning in.


In this country, we have a health care problem plain and simple. Too many people cannot afford to get the care they need, whether it’s the high co-pays, outrageous premiums or the skyrocketing cost of prescription drugs. It keeps Mainers from fully participating in their communities and the economy.


For the past two years, I have fought tooth and nail to pass a bill that lowers the cost of prescription medicine because I know what it’s like to have to make tough health care decisions based on whether or not you can afford care. And I know I am not alone.


One in four Americans has a difficult time paying for their prescription medication. I’ve heard from working families and seniors all across the state who face these tough decisions every day. People should not have to choose between affording life-saving medication and basic essentials, like food or rent. Especially when large pharmaceutical companies are profiting off the backs of people with significant health care needs.


I’m proud to say that last week my bill to lower the cost of prescription drugs by increasing the availability of cheaper, generic alternatives finally became law. This marks a huge win for Maine people over Big Pharma.


The new law aims to lower drug costs by forcing brand-name drug producers to follow federal law by providing samples of their drugs to generic producers, so that generic alternatives may be sold when the drug’s patent expires. It may seem redundant but large-pharmaceutical companies are skirting the law citing health and safety provisions. Let me be clear: this is bureaucratic nonsense.


Large pharmaceutical companies are already making enough money. It’s unconscionable that they are abusing a provision in federal law designed to protect the safety of consumers to grow their bottom-line and keep more affordable drugs out of the market.


Generics are 80-85 percent less costly than the equivalent brand-name drugs and are prescribed more than 90 percent of the time when they are available. And they must undergo rigorous testing to ensure that they are as effective as the name-brand medicine.


With this new law, Maine will be able to require that companies abide by this federal law if they wish to sell their prescription medicine in Maine.


With the continued attacks on health care in Washington over the past few years, it’s clear that Maine cannot afford to wait for the federal government to act on health care. Maine lawmakers in the Legislature must take it upon themselves to fight for lower health care costs for Maine people everyday in Augusta.


This new law is a step in the right direction but I know our fight to lower health care costs for Maine people is far from over.


This is Senator Troy Jackson, thank you for listening.