In this era of intense partisanship, there is one issue on which politicians agree: Something must be done about the out-of-control increase in prices for prescription drugs.
Older Americans have seen their prescription drug prices soar. Even if you do not take prescription drugs frequently or at all, you see the result of rising prices in your health insurance premiums and deductibles — and your taxes.
Higher drug prices also affect public insurance programs like Medicaid and Medicare. Spending for prescription drugs in those programs has increased dramatically over the years. These escalating costs eventually affect us all, even non-beneficiaries, in the form of program cuts, higher state and federal taxes — a portion of which go to support those programs — or both.
Pharmaceutical companies like to blame others in the system and claim that higher prices are necessary for innovation. But the seven Big Pharma CEOs who testified before the Senate Finance Committee in February acknowledged that they spend at least as much on marketing, advertising and administration as they do on research and development. And they agreed that the U.S. pays among the highest brand-name prices in the world. It’s time for drug companies to stop blaming others and admit that the root cause of the problem is the prices they set for their products.
Consumers’ out-of-pocket medication costs are often based on a drug’s list price. With deductibles for employer coverage now averaging more than $1,500, and coinsurance charges increasing, higher list prices mean higher out-of-pocket costs for all of us.
AARP launched a Stop Rx Greed campaign to help lower prescription drug prices by advocating for policy solutions at both the federal and state levels. The campaign includes national television, radio and digital ads; editorial content; emails to members; social media posts; advocacy and grassroots activity in Washington and the states; and a petition calling on Congress and the administration to act now.
With this campaign, AARP is doubling down on its 60-year commitment to fight for commonsense solutions to reduce out-of-control drug prices.
A lot can be done to reduce the price of prescription drugs. AARP will continue working with the administration and Congress to drive changes that result in lower prices for prescription drugs. AARP recognizes that we all need and value the products that pharmaceutical companies develop, but we also need them to be affordable.
By: Jo Ann
Jenkins, CEO, AARP, April 30, 2019