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Capito promotes drug bill in visit with local seniors

May 11, 2002|BY SARAH MULLIN

martinsburg@herald-mail.com

Rep. Shelley Moore Capito, R-W.Va., visited Patterson's Drug Store in Martinsburg Friday morning to announce she will introduce a prescription drug bill next week.

A small group of senior citizens were on hand to speak to Capito about prescription drugs.

Martinsburg resident Robert Fazio said he had open heart surgery and now pays upwards of $200 a month on medication.

"I hope she (Capito) can do what she can to lower the cost," he said.

Capito is vice chairperson of the House Prescription Drug Task Force.

Among its key elements, her bill would lower the cost of prescription drugs immediately, guarantee all senior citizens prescription drug coverage, improve Medicare with more choices and more savings and bolster Medicare's ability to deliver health care services in the future.

Capito said a meaningful discount would be 25 to 75 percent of the first $1,000 spent on drugs.

She said the bill gives larger subsidies to seniors with lower incomes, but there is no "cut-off" bracket for wealthier seniors at this point.

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Pharmacist Donna Salimery said the amount of money pharmaceutical companies spend on advertising raises the cost of prescription drugs and influences people.

"That bothers me, too," Capito said.

Martinsburg residents Margaret Linton and Maxine Roberts were part of a group that traveled to Washington on April 29 as part of a prescription drug action team to help Capito get support for the issue.

"It upped the level of discussion to get the action going," Capito said.

"They (prescription drugs) are too high for everybody, not just for senior citizens. I'd like to see the drugs lowered for everybody," Linton said.

Martinsburg Mayor George Karos, who owns Patterson's Drug Stores in Martinsburg and Inwood, said the insurance companies need to work with the pharmaceutical companies and the government to cut costs, especially for people who are uninsured.

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