Poll: 89 percent of CT residents support state-set drug prices

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NORWALK -

A new poll says 89 percent of Connecticut residents want the state to set prescription drug prices.

The report from the Universal Health Care Foundation also says that 93 percent support a law forcing drugmakers to justify price increases.

The numbers were roughly the same among Democrats, Republicans and independents.

"It is time for Connecticut to pass strong legislation that starts to address the concerns that Connecticut residents have about skyrocketing prescription drug costs," says Frances Padilla, of the Universal Health Care Foundation.

Greta Stifel has a rare form of cancer that requires pills and daily injections. She says that even with insurance, the high costs of pills means she can barely pay her bills.

"Together these drugs cost over $22,000 a month," says Stifel, of Berlin. "I have to continue on this medication for the rest of my life."

A proposal in Hartford would force drugmakers, insurance companies and other involved parties to all disclose just how much money they're keeping in rebates, as well as pass those savings onto customers.

"Under our bill, people will walk into a CVS or a Walgreens and see immediate relief at the pharmacy counter," says state Rep. Sean Scanlon (D-Guilford).

At Professional Pharmacy in Stamford, pharmacist Domenic Sammarco is skeptical. He says most drugs cost too much because there just aren't enough companies making them.

"I don't think it's feasible, No. 1. I think it has to be done, possibly, at the federal level," he says. "Most of these drugs are even manufactured out of the country, so that's going to be awfully difficult to control."

One problem is that there are many intermediaries between drugmakers and prescription holders. But the groups pushing for the new law say it will at least provide more transparency for patients.

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