As consumer advocates working in Massachusetts to promote health equity and ensure coverage and access for all, we read Jonathan Saltzman’s article “When bringing a drug to market gets personal” (Page A1, Jan. 2) with mixed emotions. While the piece tells the hopeful story of one family who could benefit from a new life-saving drug, it overlooks the devastating reality of thousands of Massachusetts families who cannot access the prescription drugs they need because of their exorbitant prices. Mentioning that pharmaceutical “price tags have drawn fire” doesn’t come close to describing the dilemma many people face each day when they must choose between eating or filling their prescription.
Health Care for All’s HelpLine receives calls from consumers every day who can’t afford their medications. In fact, the state’s Health Policy Commission has identified drug costs as the leading factor in overall health care cost growth. We urge our state leaders to use innovative approaches to bring costs down and save lives. Access to life-saving prescription drugs for diseases such as cystic fibrosis should be a right for all, not a privilege for the few who can afford the sky-high price tags.