Until recently, independent patient voices have been noticeably absent from drug pricing discussions. This is due to the fact that most patient-advocacy organizations receive funding from drug companies, and industry executives often serve on governing boards. When pharma-funded patient groups speak out, they often advocate against lower drug prices.
David Mitchell, a patient with incurable blood cancer, recognized the need for patients to talk about the heavy toll of high-priced drugs without any influence from the pharmaceutical industry. He created Patients for Affordable Drugs, a national patient organization focused on achieving policy changes to lower the price of prescription drugs. With our support, the group, which launched in February, works to educate policymakers, the public, and the press about how high drug prices affect patients.
During the past year, members of the organization testified before Congress and state legislatures in support of reforms. In Maryland, for example, the group testified on behalf of a newly approved law that allows the Attorney General to prosecute generic drug companies that engage in price gouging. And in Nevada, Patients for Affordable Drugs provided testimony on a new law to improve the transparency of drug pricing for insulin manufacturers.