WASHINGTON, DC—Today AARP National Volunteer President Dr. Catherine Alicia Georges, EdD, RN, testified on Capitol Hill at the U.S. House Committee on Oversight and Reform about the impact of high prescription drug prices on older adults.
Below are some excerpts of her prepared testimony:
“Prescription drug prices are a high priority for AARP and its members. Older Americans struggle to afford needed and life-saving medications. Most Medicare beneficiaries live on modest incomes, with an annual median of just over $26,000. One-quarter have incomes of just over $15,000. One-quarter have less than $15,000 in savings. This is not a population that has the resources to absorb rapidly escalating prescription drug prices, and many are facing the very real possibility of being unable to afford the medications they need.
“AARP has been tracking the prices of widely-used prescription drugs since 2004. Our most recent Prescription Drug Price Watch Report focused on brand-name drugs and found that their retail prices increased by an average of 8.4 percent in 2017 – four times the rate of inflation.
“Older adults are particularly vulnerable to these trends. Medicare Part D enrollees take an average of 4.5 prescriptions per month, and over two-thirds have two or more concurrent chronic illnesses.
“When AARP talks about the impact of high prescription drug prices, we’re often talking about costs that patients will face every year for the rest of their lives. High and growing drug prices are affecting all Americans in some way. Their cost is passed along to everyone with health coverage through increased health care premiums, deductibles and other forms of cost sharing.
“In conclusion, current prescription drug price trends are simply not sustainable. Drug companies are working very hard to try to shift the blame to others in the health care system, leaving them free to set incredibly high prices and increase them with little restraint. As a result, we Americans continue to pay the highest brand-name drug prices in the world.
“It is long past time for Congress to take action to reign in high drug prices. Thoughtful efforts to help reduce prescription drug prices could save tens of billions of dollars for patients, taxpayers and our health care system. More importantly, they will help ensure that all Americans have affordable access to the drugs that they need to get and stay healthy.”
Full written testimony is available at https://www.aarp.org/content/dam/aarp/politics/advocacy/2019/01/written-testimony-dr-catherine-alicia-georges-house-oversight-reform-committee-final.pdf.
To watch Dr. Georges' testimony, visit: https://bit.ly/2G75fuC.
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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.
MEDIA CONTACT: Greg Phillips, 202-434-2560, firstname.lastname@example.org, @AARPMedia