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U.S. needs affordable prescription drugs | READER COMMENTARY

This 2019 photo provided by Civica Rx shows vials of vancomycin in Lehi, Utah. Impatient with years of inaction in Washington on prescription drug costs, U.S. hospital groups, startups and nonprofits have started making their own medicines in a bid to combat stubbornly high prices and persistent shortages of drugs with little competition. (Civica Rx via AP)

Americans pay an average of $1,200 a year for prescription drugs which is two to three times higher than in any other developed country. It is not surprising that startups, nonprofits and other groups are trying to make their own medications (”Groups make own drugs to fight high prices, shortages,” Aug. 12).

While I applaud these efforts, they are going to be limited and not systematic enough to fix a badly dysfunctional system. Fortunately, there are two promising fixes. The proposed American Families Plan would allow Medicare to directly negotiate prices with pharmaceutical manufacturers and would also aim to cap the amount beneficiaries have to pay out-of-pocket for drugs.

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Even better, the Improved Medicare for All legislation would not only require negotiations but would also eliminate out-of-pocket expenses. Additionally, this bill guarantees every American affordable, quality and appropriate health care from birth to death. That’s the type of health care reform we need and deserve.

Richard Bruning, Baltimore

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