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'This is a wonderful thing for us' | Patients welcome Medicare price negotiations for expensive drugs

Some of these prescriptions can cost over $600 out of pocket.

ATLANTA — The Biden Administration revealed the first 10 prescription drugs Medicare will negotiate under the Inflation Reduction Act meaning patients could soon pay less to get life-saving care.

The batch includes blood thinners and medications to treat diabetes, cancer, and more. Here's the full list:

  • Eliquis
  • Xarelto
  • Januvia
  • Jardiance
  • Enbrel
  • Imbruvica
  • Farxiga
  • Entresto
  • Stelara
  • Fiasp and NovoLog

Diane Loupe, 66, of Decatur, takes Xarelto. She ended up with the prescription after thinking that she just had bad varicose veins. She was pregnant and said she went to the doctor to be safe.

"The next thing I know, I'm in the hospital for five days," Loupe said.

Loupe found out she has Factor Five Lieden.

"It's a blood-clotting disorder," Loupe said, "It means my body doesn't dissolve clots." 

She's depended on Xarelto for about 15 years.

"I take it once a day. And basically, it keeps you from dropping dead from a pulmonary embolism or a stroke," Loupe added. "I don't want to drop dead."

The luxury of life comes with a hefty price. Loupe said her prescription went from $10 a month to $85 a month. She has Medicare, but without insurance, pharmacies say blood thinners like hers can cost way more. 11Alive talked to a few local pharmacies. Most of the medications on the list can cost over $600. Several pharmacies say they don't even keep them in stock because they're so expensive. So, they order as requested.

"I'm sure there are people out there who are having to make this choice between eating and paying for a drug," Loupe said.

However, White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre said that's about to change.

"These 10 drugs, in last year, in 2022 cost Americans $3.4 billion, about $6,000 out-of-pocket expenses - just for one drug," Jean-Pierre said.

Jean-Pierre said Medicare will be able to negotiate prices with drug companies for the first time ever.

Jean-Pierre said more medications would be added later.

"If folks think like, oh, their drug is not on that list, it probably will be on that list down the road. These are the first tranche if you will," Jean-Pierre said.

Jean-Pierre said there has been pushback from drugmakers—even lawsuits. However, she said there's nothing in the Constitution to prevent it.

"I don't think the drug companies are hurting," Loupe said.

Loupe said it's a relief to not have to worry about affording a life-saving drug.

"What's the point of our health care system? It's not to take care of the health of our peopleThis is a wonderful thing for us," Loupe said.

The price negotiations wouldn't go into effect until 2026. Drugmakers will have a month to sign an agreement to participate or they'll be forced to pay high penalties.


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