AARP Colorado's volunteer advocacy team helped get Senate Bill 21-175 passed, which will create a Prescription Drug Affordability Review Board, in an effort to find ways to lower prescription drugs costs.
Gov. Jared Polis signed the bill into law on June 16, 2021.
"AARP supports the Prescription Drug Affordability Review Board as it stands to protect older Coloradans from financially devastating prescription drug costs," said Carol Pace, an AARP volunteer and member of the advocacy team. Pace, along with AARP Colorado advocacy director Kelli Fritts attended the bill signing with Polis.
"This is a big win for all Coloradans," said Bob Murphy, AARP Colorado state director. "We are paving the path toward more affordable drug prices and in the very near future, we may not have to see so many people have to choose between paying for food, or paying for their medications.”
AARP supported the bill because older adults are reliant upon prescription drugs, and more likely to need them for medical conditions related to heart disease, osteoarthritis, diabetes and respiratory disease, among other illnesses.
In addition, a recent AARP survey found that three of four adults age 50-plus regularly take at least one prescription medication, and over eight in 10 take at least two drugs. More than half of seniors take four or more drugs.
Some older adults live in greater fear of medical costs than of the illness itself, as prescription drugs represent an increasingly high out-of-pocket
expense, for many who are on a fixed income.
High drug costs affect patient compliance with taking their medications, Pace said, leading to further medical problems. Older adults report splitting pills or taking medications irregularly, in order to afford the cost.
"It’s outrageous for Americans to pay three times what people pay in other countries for the same medicines," Murphy added.