Rx AARP Health Care Reform Priorities Lowering Prescription Drug Prices Fact Sheet Final
AARP Health Reform Priorities
Lowering Prescription Drug Prices
“My husband and I live with our youngest son and his family - partly due to finances, our advancing
age, and the need of some "watch care." We have Medicare Part D, but now I am in the "donut
hole". My medications now cost over $300 a month, and when I need to refill the two insulin
prescriptions I use, it costs another $200+. We will be dependant on our children to make up the
difference between what we can pay--about $1900 a month Social Security, and hope that neither
of us will need any more medications. Our children are raising young families, as are our married
grandchildren, but they will help us as they can. I would rather stop the medications and let nature
take its course rather than cause such problems. They are all concerned about us, but also
concerned about their own expenses which are skyrocketing just like everyone else’s.”
Shari F., Virginia
Older Americans use prescription drugs more than any other group. As a result, they
bear the brunt of skyrocketing drug costs. But high drug prices are a problem for
everyone, and the evidence is overwhelming that we should address this problem now:
• AARP’s latest Rx Watchdog report found that manufacturer prices for widely used
brand name prescription drugs increased, on average, by 8.7 percent in 2008,
more than twice the rate of inflation.
• Manufacturer prices for widely used specialty drugs, drugs that are used to treat
complex, chronic conditions and require special administration, handling, and
patient care, rose even faster—at an average rate of 9.3 percent in 2008.
• Increasingly, lower-priced generic drugs aren’t always getting to the market
quickly because some manufacturers of popular brand name drugs have been
paying manufacturers of generics to delay putting the generic version on the
market. This means that consumers, health plans, and taxpayers are forced to
pay more for higher prices for brand-name drugs.
• There is no regulatory path for approval of safe, affordable biologic generics.
These are medications made from living organisms that are used to treat cancer,
multiple sclerosis, rheumatoid arthritis, and other serious diseases. Biologic drugs
often cost 10, 15, or 20 times more than most non-biologic drugs.
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