AARP Rhode Island’s March 27, 2019 House Committee Testimony  

H-5296– Pharmacist Disclosing Lesser Price Drug Substitutions

Dear Chairman McNamara and members of the Health, Education and Welfare Committee

On behalf of AARP –RI and our 132,000 members in Rhode Island, we are in STRONG SUPPORT of this legislation that would provide that pharmacists shall disclose lesser price drug substitutions.

Older Rhode Islanders are struggling with rising prescription drug prices and cannot afford to wait any longer. Year-after-year they have seen prices increase by double-digits – with no end in sight.  That is why 72 percent of older Americans say they are concerned about the cost of their medications, making it a priority for policymakers to act on prescription drug prices.

AARP has recently launched a nationwide campaign – in Washington and across the states – calling on lawmakers to enact legislation that will provide relief to older Americans and all consumers struggling to afford their prescription medications.

In 2017, the average annual cost for one brand-name medication used on a chronic basis was almost $6,800. For the average older American taking 4.5 prescription drugs per month, the average annual cost of therapy would have been more than $30,000.

AARP Rhode Island supports H5296 because it would let consumers know when generic drugs or other lower cost alternatives are available that contain all the same active chemical ingredients of the same strength, quantity and dosage as a name brand prescription drug.  Rhode Islanders deserve to know when they can safely save money on prescription drugs.

There is no reason Rhode Islanders should be paying the highest drug prices in the world.  We urge the Committee to support this bill and to work together to pass other commonsense legislation to lower prescription drug prices.

Sincerely,

John DiTomasso

Associated State Director- AARP Rhode Island