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Women's Health Issues
   Access to Medication

Help Just Out of Reach? New Medicines for Women and Barriers to Access
May 17, 2000

New and innovative drugs that dramatically improve the quality of life for people with chronic diseases are often inaccessible to those who may benefit from it. The pharmaceutical industry defends the high costs of many drugs, citing the high costs of research and development of new drugs, the limited time to recoup investments, and competition with discounted drug prices in Canada and Europe. The Insurance Industry attempts to limit costs by limiting access to expensive new therapies, by insisting that patients first try and fail less expensive therapies, or by placing caps on the total dollar amount covered.


Ms. Debra Lappin encouraged Congress to pass a prescription drug benefit for Medicare recipients.


Ms. Anne Grady showed through real-life examples how researchers often do not understand the needs of patients. An HIV study required patients to report to a clinic several times a week and to keep a detailed health journal. The study was so burdensome that no women participated. The researchers failed to make allowances for the fact that many women with HIV are single parents, with low incomes and limited access to childcare. Ms. Grady reiterated Senator Murray’s support for a patient bill of rights that would ensure direct and equal access to specialty.


Speakers: Debra Lappin, JD, Immediate Past Chair and Senior Chair of Health Policy, Arthritis Foundation; Stacy FitzSimmons, PhD, Assistant Vice President for Clinical Affairs, Women's Clinical Issues Workgroup, Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of American (PhRMA); Anne Grady, Legislative Assistant, Office of Senator Patty Murray





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