By Rick Ritter

CATONSVILLE, Md. (WJZ) — For the past few years, it’s been Rep. Elijah Cummings and his team leading the charge against drug prices that continue to soar.

“How disgustingly outrageous these drug prices have become,” said Baltimore County Councilman Tom Quirk, District 1.

Cummings blasted out a committee staff report Wednesday, showing how millions suffering from diabetes in the U.S. have faced steep increases in the cost of their insulin.

Cummings found that in the Baltimore area, more than 42,000 Medicare recipients would pay 92 percent less in Australia, 88 percent less in the United Kingdom and 87 percent less in Canada.

The price difference between the countries- specifically because of Medicare- is not allowed to negotiate directly with drug makers.

“We cannot simply sit back as diabetes patients are compromising health and even dying, due to the high prices of the medications,” Cummings said in a presser Wednesday.

Doctors including Dr. Sherita Golden watch the everyday battle.

“As the cost of insulin has climbed, I’ve witnessed firsthand the financial toll this has taken on my patients,” Dr. Golden said.

The report is just the latest effort to highlight what has become a bipartisan cause in Washington, D.C. in recent years.

Cummings has since launched a sweeping investigation in the drug industry’s pricing practices and introduced a bill to allow the federal government to negotiate lower prices.

Elected leaders said every day that goes by without a change leaves lives in jeopardy.

“Literally people are rationing and others are dying because they cannot afford these prescription drugs, that’s obscene in the wealthiest nation in the world, that’s obscene,” Councilman Quirk said.

Cummings report shows there are more than 30 million people with diabetes, including more than one in four seniors.

Cummings said President Trump even told him the drug companies are getting away with murder. The two met two years ago and Trump agreed to help him lower prices- but he says he hasn’t spoken to the president since.

Rick Ritter

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