By Mike Festa, State Director, AARP Massachusetts
AARP has launched “Stop Rx Greed,” a nationwide campaign aimed at lowering prescription drug prices. The goal of AARP’s sustained campaign is to help drive down drug prices for commonwealth residents and all Americans by advocating for a variety of legislative, executive, and regulatory actions at both the federal and state level.
We are calling on Congress, the Administration, and Massachusetts lawmakers to pass commonsense, bipartisan legislation to lower prescription drug prices now. This issue is a top priority for older Americans, and we are launching this campaign to focus on federal and state solutions to cut drug prices.
As part of the campaign, AARP Research conducted a national survey of likely voters ages 50 and older. The survey found that significant majorities of self-identified Republican, Democrat, and independent voters shared concerns about the high price of drugs, and support common-sense policies that will lower prices. Survey findings include:
• 72 percent say they are concerned about the cost of their medications.
• 63 percent say the cost of prescription drugs is unreasonable.
• 90 percent support allowing Medicare to negotiate for lower drug prices.
• 80 percent report taking at least one prescription medication.
• Nearly 40 percent say they did not fill a prescription provided by their doctor with cost being the most common reason.
AARP is calling on lawmakers to enact solutions that will provide long overdue relief for not just older Americans, but all consumers. Those solutions must lower drug prices and not simply shift costs around in the system. Americans depend on their prescriptions. From cancer treatments to EpiPens, drug companies’ skyrocketing prices are pushing life-saving treatments out of reach for those who need them. We pay among the highest prescription drug prices in the world so drug companies can make billions. No one should have to choose between buying medicine or buying food for their families. That’s not just wrong — it’s shameful.
The Stop Rx Greed campaign includes national television, radio and digital ads, editorial content, emails to members, social media posts, ongoing advocacy and grassroots activity in D.C. and the states, and a petition calling on Congress and the Administration to take action now. As part of the campaign, AARP will push for support of a number of policy solutions at the national and state level to help lower drug prices, including:
• Allowing Medicare to negotiate for lower prescription drug prices.
• Allowing states to negotiate lower prices with drug companies.
• Giving state Attorneys General authority to crack down on outrageous price increases.
• Clamping down on pay-for-delay and other loopholes that keep lower cost generic drugs off the market.
• Capping consumers’ prescription drug out-of-pocket costs.
• Preserving state pharmacy assistance programs.
For more about Stop Rx Greed, visit www.aarp.org/rx.