Letters

letters | Growing pay inequity raises eyebrows

With executive pay so high, it’s about time we lifted veil on drug costs

What pharmaceutical companies pay their executives is generally their business. But the bonuses reported lately are so mind-boggling that it’s impossible to believe that the rest of us aren’t shouldering part of the burden through our skyrocketing deductibles, copays, and other out-of-pocket drug expenses (“Firms say top pay at Vertex is excessive,” Business, May 27).

In Massachusetts, we spend more than $4.5 billion annually on prescription drugs, and as consumer advocates we hear the increasingly common complaint that rising drug costs are jeopardizing patients’ care. So, are we getting a good deal, or are we getting ripped off?

We are excited about a legislative proposal aimed at shedding light on some of the mystery that currently shrouds drug pricing. The bill would require pharmaceutical companies to report their manufacturing, marketing, and research costs, and what they charge for the same medicine overseas.

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The bill empowers the Health Policy Commission to determine whether a drug’s price is unreasonable, threatening our cost growth goal, in which case the commission could establish a maximum Massachusetts selling price.

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We are determined to create the most effective consumer-centered health care system in the country, which means that prescriptions must be an affordable element of care.

Amy Whitcomb Slemmer

Executive director, Health Care for All, Boston