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During the Pandemic, Spanberger Amplifies More Than 1,000 Additional Constituent Stories on Prescription Drug Costs

Earlier This Year, The Congresswoman Gathered Stories & Feedback On The Issue Of Prescription Drug Costs From More Than 2,500 Central Virginians. In Light Of The Volatile Impacts of COVID-19, Spanberger Relaunched The Survey In July 2020 & Received Input From an Additional 1,000 People

Washington, September 18, 2020

U.S. Representative Abigail Spanberger today announced the results of her second 2020 Prescription Drug Survey, a fact-gathering questionnaire that invited Central Virginians to share their stories and experiences coping with the dual crises of the COVID-19 pandemic and the intensifying problem of prescription drug costs.

Spanberger received answers from 1,066 Central Virginians.

This was the second time this year that Spanberger has solicited feedback from constituents on this issue. A similar online survey in February 2020 garnered responses from more than 2,500 Central Virginians. Due to the wide-ranging and volatile impact the COVID-19 pandemic continues to have on the health and financial security of many Virginians, Spanberger decided to seek more updated input from her constituents on this major issue.

“One of the pandemic’s most pernicious impacts on American families and seniors has been the additional strain it places on challenges that already existed in our communities,” said Spanberger. “The rising cost of prescription drugs is a top concern in Central Virginia, and I’ve worked hard to address the crisis by supporting practical legislation like the CREATES Act, the Lower Drug Costs Now Act, and my own Public Disclosure of Drug Discounts Act. As our work continues in the U.S. House, my understanding of this issue would be incomplete without taking into account the damaging impact COVID-19 has had on Americans’ ability to pay for their prescription medications, access the drugs they need at their local pharmacy, and safeguard their health during this crisis. I’m thankful to each Central Virginian who shared their thoughts through our survey. These stories are at the heart of my ongoing efforts to lower prescription drug costs and provide some certainty during this public health crisis, and listening to the firsthand accounts of the people I serve is an essential first step.”

This week, Spanberger proposed a bipartisan, six-month framework for breaking the gridlock that has gripped negotiations on an additional COVID-19 relief package. The plan, produced by the 25 Democrats and 25 Republicans of the Problem Solvers Caucus, would provide additional aid to healthcare providers, as well as direct assistance for Americans struggling to keep up with prescription drug costs and other everyday expenses in the face of worsening economic hardship.  

Some of the stories submitted by Central Virginians include:

Ruth, Jeffersonton

“As a cardiac rehab nurse, about one third of my patients have had to use a less-safe drug instead of a safer one, due to the excessive cost of the patented drug.”

Cherita, Moseley

“I am diabetic and on three shots, long- and short-acting. I also have allergic asthma. The four medications cost almost $4,000 every three months. Not affordable, so sometimes I try to stretch my medications and not take them as prescribed, because I cannot afford them.”

Daniel, Culpeper

“My children are asthmatic and we ration preventative medicine because of the cost. We use expired medicine because of the cost.”

Colleen, North Chesterfield

“I am worried about my son's ability to pay for healthcare.  He drops off my insurance at the end of September because he turns 26.  He lost his job due to COVID-19 and has asthma, so [he] can't really get a job where he is out around people on a daily basis at the moment.”

Lori, Powhatan

“I have a special needs daughter who requires over 20 medications a month. She is a quadriplegic, so her needs come first.  So I have gone without [my medications], which are necessary but NOT life threatening to go without. Another problem we are having is accessing my daughter’s doctors for refills. We had to call six times, and still have to make arrangements with our pharmacist to get my daughter’s metformin. They had to give me four pills when we could not reach our doctor because of staffing or something.”

Deborah, Culpeper

“My husband has put off retiring to meet our healthcare needs. We currently have health insurance that is partially paid for by his employer. Under the current healthcare system, he cannot retire (he has reached full retirement age) because we cannot afford to pay for the supplemental insurance.”

Janice, Midlothian

“I work in healthcare as a consultant and writer, and talk to people many times a week who are struggling to afford their medications, especially insulin. After a brief COVID-19 pause, prices are again heading upward.”

Angela, Henrico

“I do home health [work] and there are many seniors that cannot afford their medications. Something has to be done about the prices of drugs that are necessary for living!”

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