Like most of you, I have seen the recent ads funded by big Pharma in which they want us to believe that giving Medicare the ability to negotiate drug prices is bad.

If that is true then why do thousands of citizens cross the borders to Mexico and Canada to buy their prescription drugs? They save on the average two to three times the amount the same drugs cost in this country on drugs that are produced in the same factories with the same purity as those sold in this country.

Most of the other countries in the world do not let Big Pharma control the price of drugs; rather, they force them to negotiate the price.

If that is not bad enough, the cost of developing a drug for sale in this country is funded in part by the National Institute of Health (NIH), a U.S. Government Agency, with your tax dollars. The estimated cost to develop a new drug, on average, is $2.5 billion with the NIH funding approximately $1.1 billion of the cost.

Then, the government funding is forgiven when the drug reaches the market, with Big Pharma reaping all the profit, usually amounting to billions of dollars. If the drug fails in the required testing, Big Pharma declares a loss and writes it off as a business expense, which usually ends up costing them nothing while recovering their total investment.

So why do we allow this tremendous cost to all of us? It is simple, Big Pharma has an estimated 100 lobbyists for each senator and representative in Congress and has been able to influence legislation that restricts bargaining on the cost of drugs. 

So the next time you write or speak to your representatives ask them who they work for, you or Big Pharma, and ask them to support legislation to allow Medicare to negotiate the cost of our prescription drugs.

Michael Cook, North Platte

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