Collins Chairs Committee Hearing On Prescription Drug Price Bills

Mar 6, 2019

As several bills to control prescription drug prices make their way through Congress, U.S. Sen. Susan Collins is chairing a two-day hearing on the issue.

A Texas woman holds her insulin pump.
Credit David J Phillip / AP Photo

On Wednesday, witnesses told the Special Committee on Aging that, even with insurance, it is becoming impossible to afford effective treatments for life-threatening conditions, such as Type 1 diabetes.

Michelle Dehetre of Lewiston told Senator Collins and others on the committee that she suffers two to four medical emergencies each month because the regimen she had been on since childhood was no longer effective. But she says that her insurance refuses to cover the cost of a continuous glucose monitor and medicine pump prescribed by her doctor.

Senator Collins called the situation "just plain wrong."

"It is ironic that not only is your health being endangered, but also if you're being hospitalized more often the insurer is ending up paying more money," Collins says.

The Committee also heard about the lack of transparency about the cost of medicines and sudden price spikes.

On Thursday, the Committee plans to hear from a number of academics, industry representative, and consumer advocates on possible policy solutions.