Campaign Takes a Stand Against Big Pharma After Cap Fails at Federal Level
(Anchorage) – Friday, Les Gara announced his plan to cap the out-of-pocket cost of insulin for Alaskans at $35 per month. The proposed cap went before Congress last week and failed by three votes, urging Gara to take a strong stand against Big Pharma as part of his campaign for Alaska Governor.
“About ten percent of Alaskans have diabetes. We know diabetics can spend up to 40% of their total income on the insulin they need to keep them alive, and that’s an enormous, unnecessary stress for thousands of Alaskans and their families,” said Gara. “The cap can be implemented at a state level, and that’s exactly what I will do as Governor.”
Roughly a dozen states have already taken steps to cap the cost of insulin between the range of $35 to $100 per month, and Gara plans to join those states to ensure that Alaskans who need insulin can afford it.
“Alaskans who are privately insured are paying between $350 to $900 a month,” said Gara. “Those are the same private insurance companies that worked to stop the federal bill that would have capped insulin costs for the nation. Because of federal inaction, it’s time for Alaska to act.”
Gara applauded Alaska’s federal delegation for stepping across the aisle to support a bill that was largely rejected by the Republican Party, and noted that many of the members of Congress who voted against it are also receiving huge campaign contributions from Big Pharma.
“Alaskans already have the highest health care costs in the nation. Add to that the fact the United States has the highest insulin costs of any developed nation in the world. That makes Alaska a scary place to need insulin to stay alive,” said Gara. “Any unplanned expense could leave an Alaskan in a situation where they’re choosing between housing, food, safe transportation, or a medication they need to live. It’s unconscionable when you know Big Pharma can sell insulin for a reasonable cost all over the world but they just refuse to do it here.”
Gara has a strong record of fighting to decrease the costs of health care in Alaska. As a legislator, Gara authored and co-sponsored a successful amendment that required pharmacists to tell patients if a lower-cost prescription option were available, a simple cost-savings act that the industry barred pharmacists from doing until the legislation passed.
“Being Governor means doing the work it takes to pass needed reforms and this is a reform that is desperately needed by thousands of families in our state,” said Gara.