Today, AARP announced the launch of ‘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 all Americans by advocating for a variety of legislative, executive, and regulatory actions at both the federal and state level.
“Americans are paying the highest prescription drug prices in the world,” said Executive Vice President and Chief Advocacy & Engagement Officer Nancy LeaMond. “It’s time for pharmaceutical companies to stop deflecting blame and acknowledge that the root cause is the price they set for their products.”
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.
The Stop Rx Greed campaign will include 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.
“There’s no one solution that’s going to solve this issue,” said John Hishta, AARP Senior Vice President of Campaigns. “Success will be when consumers are no longer price gouged by the drug industry and can afford the drugs they need.”
In Iowa, AARP has been working closely over the past month with Sen. Chuck Grassley, who is chairman of the Senate Finance Committee, and his staff to collect stories of Iowans impacted by escalating prescription drug prices.
Doug Lehman, of Sioux City, is a kidney transplant recipient, who currently takes 32 pills a day to maintain kidney function. Lehman is one of many Iowans feeling the weight of high RX costs.
“Over the last three to five years, the cost of these prescriptions has increased dramatically, in fact, I just got a $500 a month increase just recently,” said Lehman. “So now I’m taking on another part time job to cover those costs. If I wasn’t capable of working, I wouldn’t be able to get those anti-rejection drugs and that would result in failure of the kidney.”
For more about Stop Rx Greed, visit www.aarp.org/rx.