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Point of View: Lower prescription costs essential to better health outcomes

Sen. Greg McCortney
Sen. Greg McCortney

SB 734 will lower the costs of prescription drugs in this state by tens of millions of dollars. It will result in lower out-of-pocket expenses, reduced insurance premiums and huge savings for taxpayers.

As former President Donald Trump recognized when he made a similar proposal, it is unfair that we pay more for the same drugs than the citizens of other countries. Drug manufacturers charge Americans more, and then subsidize health care for people in other countries, like Canada, where drugs cost 200% less on average than they do in the U.S. For example, the arthritis drug Humira is $2,442 in Oklahoma, versus $564 in Canada. The authors claim the bill will result in rationing, but health care is already rationed when Oklahomans can’t afford the drugs they need because drug companies inflate prices in the United States so they can sell them cheaper in Canada.

Big Pharma continues to make money in Canada, and it will continue to make healthy profits in Oklahoma if this bill becomes law. It’s estimated this would save Oklahoma taxpayers as much as $50 million annually simply in lower costs for state employee health care.

This bill won’t slow down the introduction of new drugs in Oklahoma because it only applies to drugs already sold in the state. By reducing rates, drug manufacturers will still rake in handsome profits, but Oklahomans will see real savings.

Greg McCortney, R-Ada, represents District 13 in the Oklahoma Senate and serves as the chair of the Health and Human Services Committee.