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New effort to alleviate prescription drug costs

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KALISPELL, Mont. - Pharmacists and customers alike report being hit hard by rising prescription medication prices.

That's where a plan from State Sen. Jonathan Windy Boy (D-Rocky Boy) comes in. He proposed an interim legislative? committee to conduct a study into the rising cost of prescription drugs.

Windy Boy says the study would review the following:

Price changes in prescription drugs over the last 10 years and what has caused them. How much have the price changes impacted Montana's government health care programs such as Medicaid and Medicare What actions Congress can take to control the rising cost of prescription drugs.

According to a Kaiser Family Foundation poll, four out of five Americans consider prescription drug prices unreasonable. The Altarium Institute says prescription drug spending is growing faster than any other part of health care's $3 trillion budget.

Kalispell resident Linda Mellor says her total prescription drug cost has increased by 20 percent over the last year.

"If I go through a local pharmacy it's costing me $30 now. Before it cost me $19. Every month, every six months, it seems like it keeps creeping up," Mellor said.

Local pharmacists tell us just about every drug is becoming more expensive.

"Inhalers have jumped double in price. Some of the antibiotics have really jumped high compared to where they were. Even some of the generics that used to be relatively affordable are now being priced up quite a bit," Syke's Diner pharmacist Tobey Schule said.

That committee, if approved, would meet during the legislature's off year, 2018 and present its findings and possible solutions to the 2019 legislative session.

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