August 26, 2019
Evey Bell Owen, AARP Alabama, Interim Associate State Director of Communications
New Data Shows One in Three Alabamians Stopped Taking a Prescription Drug as Prescribed Due to Cost
AARP Alabama Shows Impact of Skyrocketing Drug Prices on Alabamians with New Data and Infographic
(Montgomery, AL) – AARP Alabama today released new state data illustrating the impact of high prescription drug prices for Alabama residents, specifically those living with cancer, prediabetes or diabetes, and heart disease.
“While prescription drug prices continue skyrocketing, Americans are being forced to choose between filling life-saving medications or paying rent and buying food,” said AARP Alabama State Director Candi Williams. “So far in 2019, 29 states (including Alabama) have passed 46 new laws to rein in drug prices. It’s critical that state and federal lawmakers continue this momentum to stop Rx greed.”
In 2016, 35% of Alabamians (one in three) stopped taking a prescription drug as prescribed due to cost, as shown in the infographic. The infographic also highlights recent price increases for select prescription drugs commonly used to treat cancer, diabetes, and heart disease. Between 2012 and 2017, the retail price of:
- Revlimid, used to treat cancer, increased from $147,413 per year to $247,496 per year. In Alabama, 539,841 people are living with cancer.
- Lantus, a form of insulin used to treat diabetes, increased from $2,907 per year to $4,702 per year. There are 587,856 people with diabetes or pre-diabetes in Alabama.
- Aggrenox, a heart disease medication, increased from $3,030 per year to $5,930 per year. In Alabama, 206,211 people have heart disease.
Earlier this year, Alabama lawmakers passed bipartisan legislation that starts to address the high cost of prescription drugs. Senate Bill 73 by State Senator Arthur Orr prohibits pharmacy benefit managers (PBMs) from restricting pharmacies and pharmacists from disclosing cost information to patients about alternative drugs or other services and costs.
“AARP Alabama has been encouraged by the bipartisan work of our state lawmakers this year to lower prescription drug prices,” stated Williams. “Ultimately, drug costs are a national issue, so federal action is equally essential. We urge the Senate to pass the Prescription Drug Pricing Reduction Act in the fall, when the House is expected to act on its own drug pricing bill.”
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AARP is the nation’s largest nonprofit, nonpartisan organization dedicated to empowering people 50 and older to choose how they live as they age. With a nationwide presence and nearly 38 million members, AARP strengthens communities and advocates for what matters most to families: health security, financial stability and personal fulfillment. AARP also produces the nation's largest circulation publications: AARP The Magazine and AARP Bulletin. To learn more, visit www.aarp.org or follow @AARP and @AARPadvocates on social media.
AARP Alabama: www.aarp.org/al | Twitter: @aarpal | Facebook: @alabama.aarp