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AARP People’s Hearing Highlights Real Life Stories of Prescription Drug Affordability, Calls on Congress to Pass Reform

Seniors from Across the United States Highlight the Need for Congress to Act

AARP hosted a “People’s Hearing” on prescription drugs May 18, featuring seniors from across the United States who struggle to afford their medications along with other basic needs. In addition to sharing how the cost of prescription drugs affects them, participants urged Congress to act now and pass needed reforms.

Navy veteran Keith Coe of Arizona was one of six stories highlighted during the virtual event. He shared that his wife, Lisa, takes 12 medications each month due to multiple serious health issues: “On average, we spend about $900 per month on prescription drugs… We must regularly decide between paying for her medications versus paying for other day-to-day expenses. We are struggling financially and emotionally, and it seems like nobody cares.”

Kitty Ruderman of New York told viewers that she often leaves the pharmacy without picking up the prescriptions she needs: “Even before recent inflation kicked in, I couldn’t afford the medications my doctor prescribed… My doctor has repeatedly prescribed medications, and then I go to the pharmacy and have to decline them due to how much it would cost me.” Thousands of AARP members across the country tuned in to the People’s Hearing, answering live poll questions about the effect of high prescription drug costs.

“Older adults across the country have made it clear that they need Congress to act and lower prescription drug prices,” said Nancy LeaMond, Executive Vice President and Chief Advocacy & Engagement Officer at AARP. “Not being able to afford the prescription drugs they need is a very real struggle for millions of Americans. It’s vitally important that policymakers hear these stories. American families need relief from skyrocketing prescription drug prices, and they need it now.”

More than 4 million AARP members have signed petitions calling on Congress to lower the price of prescriptions drugs, and polls show strong bipartisan support for laws that would allow Medicare to negotiate prescription drug prices and penalize drug companies that raise their prices faster than the rate of inflation. The House of Representatives passed several prescription drug reforms in November, but the Senate has yet to take action.

A recording of the People’s Hearing can be viewed here.

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