DES MOINES, Iowa – Polls show that reducing the cost of prescription drugs is a very important issue to Americans, and AARP is launching a new campaign to demand action, at both the federal and state levels.
Ten years ago, Doug Lehman from Sioux City wasn’t on any prescription drugs, but a kidney transplant changed that, making him insulin-dependent. The cost of his medication just went up another $500 a month, which he says has created a new hardship for his family.
“Because of the recent increase in costs, I’ve taken on another part-time job to cover that cost,” says Lehman. “If I wasn’t working or capable of working, I would not be able to get those anti-rejection drugs, and that would result in failure of the kidney.”
According to AARP, Americans pay the highest prescription drug prices in the world. The group wants pharmaceutical companies to stop deflecting blame and reduce those prices.
A national AARP survey group found that 72 percent of likely voters ages 50 and older are concerned about the cost of their medications.
AARP Iowa State Director Brad Anderson says he’d heard from Iowans who need to choose between their medications, paying their power bills or buying groceries.
“The stories aren’t just about incremental rises in drug costs, these are about giant shifts,” says Anderson, “from tens of dollars to hundreds of dollars, that force seniors all over the state to make really tough decisions no senior in America should have to face.”
Anderson says the new campaign includes a petition calling on Congress and the Trump administration to take action.
“Whether you’re a Republican or you’re a Democrat, drug costs affect you the same way,” says Anderson, “And so, taking on drug company greed and lowering the costs of prescription drugs is probably the most popular thing that has broad bipartisan support from our members.”
Sixty-three percent of those surveyed by AARP think the price of prescription drugs is “unreasonable.” The “Stop Rx Greed” campaign supports policy solutions, including allowing Medicare to negotiate for lower drug prices.