Faced with this extremely serious issue, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) has announced that it will take additional steps to confront this problem head-on. Seniors should get ready to hang onto their wallets.
Underage smoking has dramatically decreased in recent years, mainly because of an ever-rising cost of a pack of cigarettes. The lawsuits against the tobacco industry, the funds for which were supposed to be used for anti-tobacco initiatives, instead allowed states and political bosses to replenish their coffers. CMS is taking heart from these lessons and applying them to the prescription drug abuse issue.
“We at CMS will work with drug companies to help them increase the cost of the medications that are the most abused,” said a CMS spokesman, speaking on condition of anonymity. “This will only apply to a select number of brand names and their generic counterparts. Over-The-Counter drugs will not be affected.”
Seniors can soon expect to see their per-pill costs increase by double-digit percentages, meaning that a pill that costs pennies today might cost over $50 tomorrow. CMS says that this price increase is necessary to “cut down on the unauthorized use of medicines that the pharmaceutical industry has worked so hard to push on the American public for decades,” continued the CMS spokesman, speaking on condition of anonymity.
Many pro-senior entities have already voiced their concern over this tactic. AARP issued a statement in which they “strongly condemn any anti-senior initiative that may prevent or hinder members from paying their membership dues to our organization.” Another organization, which wished not to be named, worried that the initiative would create “a choice for those on fixed incomes: take your medicine or live on the streets,” said the organization spokesman, speaking on condition of anonymity.
But other organizations sided with CMS on the issue. The Society Urging Drug Abuse for Seniors (SUDAS) said that the initiative would facilitate “the introduction of previously unknown medications to millions of seniors.”