Legislature seeks to control drug prices in Puerto Rico
SAN JUAN – Popular Democratic Party (PDP) minority Rep. Jesús Manuel Ortiz, urged the legislative majority Thursday to approve an administrative bill aimed at giving the government greater oversight of medicine prices.
“Concerned about the health and economy of our seniors, along with my colleague Lydia Méndez, I filed House Bill 711 to facilitate the process to control the prices of medicines. In Puerto Rico, the elderly use most of their money to pay for their medications and other medical services, condemning them to poverty. That is why I am calling on the NPP [New Progressive Party] majority to approve the bill filed by Governor Ricardo Rosselló, whose purpose is the same: to do justice to the elderly,” the legislator said in a written statement.
Ortiz said Senate Bill 371 is similar to his measure and is being analyzed by the House of Representatives. “The important thing here is not who the author of the measure is, but to address as soon as possible a situation that is strangling people 65 and older economically,” the legislator said.
Likewise, the representative explained that after analyzing the economic reality of older adults in Puerto Rico, he found that four out of 10 live in poverty. He added that a study by the Department of Health in 2013 showed that people 65 years of age or older spend $1,710 per person in copayments to insurers, and spent 18 percent more than the insurers spent on serving them.
“Esta es una realidad que debemos atender con prontitud. Nuestra población ha envejecido y el gobierno tiene la responsabilidad de velar por el bienestar de todos. Los costos en servicios médicos continúan aumentando, y es momento de que el gobierno tome medidas para fiscalizar efectivamente este sector”, subrayó Ortiz.
“This is a reality that we must attend to promptly. Our population has aged and the government has the responsibility to ensure the well-being of all. Costs in medical services continue to increase and it is time for the government to take measures to effectively control this sector,” Ortiz said.