During recent testimony before the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pension Committee hearing on Stabilizing the Affordable Care Act Marketplace, AARP became the largest consumer organization to publicly support the prescription drug policy solutions reflected in Prescription Justice’s policy platform. AARP supports commonsense policy reforms to allow Medicare to negotiate drug prices, end pay-for-delay deals that delay entry of generic drugs into the marketplace, and increase access to lower cost medications through safe prescription drug importation. As part of a larger set of priorities for protecting and strengthening the healthcare system, AARP boldly declared that any changes to the healthcare law must include solutions to address rising prescription drug costs.
Millions of older Americans, who need more prescription drugs than those in others age groups, don’t take medications each year because of cost. According to a report from AARP, retail prices for specialty drugs widely used by older adults have increased by an average of nearly 10%, the highest increase in at least a decade. For those with chronic conditions, this cost burden can be especially high and could mean skipping or rationing medication or even cutting back on a necessity such as food or rent – putting their health in further jeopardy.
We agree with AARP that Congress must do more to reduce the burden of high prescription drug costs. A bipartisan approach will be key in making any meaningful changes in prescription drug pricing. There is renewed optimism as both Republicans and Democrats having introduced measures to lower drug prices. As Congress continues the debate on stabilizing the Affordable Care Act, we urge them to not overlook American’s most pressing healthcare concern – unaffordable prescription drug costs.