Dr. Nav Persaud testifies at the US Senate on the value of making essential medicines free for everyone

MARCH 23, 2021

MAP scientist Dr. Nav Persaud was invited to speak to the US Senate today at a subcommittee hearing entitled, “Why does the US pay the highest prices in the world for prescription drugs?

Dr. Persaud is introduced by Senator Bernie Sanders.

“America is a superpower,” Dr. Persaud told the committee. “A superpower that has not shown its strength in standing up to pharmaceutical companies that rip off Americans – as proven by the price differences for patented medicines across our border.”

He went on to describe the success of his CLEAN Meds study.

“My colleagues and I have conducted a randomized controlled trial of distributing essential medicines… to people who report not being able to afford them,” said Dr. Persaud. “We found improvements in the control of blood pressure and diabetes, fewer missed medical appointments, and total health-care savings that averaged more than a thousand dollars per patient per year. The biggest benefit was in the ability to ‘make ends meet’ or afford basic necessities such as rent and food: only 29% in the usual access or control group could make ends meet, but 86% of those who did not have to pay out‐of‐pocket for medicines could afford necessities. A farmer in our study, for example, was better able to grow food when he had asthma puffers.”

Download a PDF of Dr. Persaud’s testimony, including his recommendations to the Senate on what the American government can do to reduce drug spending while promoting access and equitable care.