Jul 9, 2021
AARP Statement Supporting Action to Reduce Prescription Drug Prices
New Survey Shows Strong Public Interest for Movement This Year

WASHINGTON—AARP Executive Vice President and Chief Advocacy & Engagement Officer Nancy LeaMond issued the following statement in response to the announcement to take federal action to reduce the high prices of prescription drugs in an Executive Order released by the White House today:

Americans can’t afford to pay more than 3 times what people in other countries pay for the same medicine. People shouldn’t have to choose between buying medicine and paying for food or rent. On behalf of our 38 million members and all Americans, AARP is encouraged by today’s Executive Order calling for swift and real action to reduce prescription drug prices.

"AARP has long supported measures to curb high drug prices like allowing states to begin safely importing prescription drugs from Canada and ending the use of pay-for-delay deals that harm consumers by delaying generic drug competition. In addition, AARP strongly supports policies that will lower prices and out-of-pocket costs further by allowing Medicare to negotiate drug prices, requiring inflation-based rebates for prescription drugs covered by Medicare Parts B and D, and creating an out-of-pocket cap for Medicare Part D.  These and other reforms would make a huge difference in the lives of Americans over the age of 50, who have been paying far too much for too long.

"The President, Congress and the American public all agree we need to lower drug prices, and now is the time to get costs under control.”

AARP released a new survey this week that found strong, bi-partisan support for the president and Congress to take measures this year to reduce the prices of prescription drugs. Seven in ten (70%) registered voters ages 50-plus said they consider it very important, while one-fifth (21%) consider it somewhat important.

The survey also found that among older adults (50+):

  • More than half (58%) are concerned they will not be able to afford prescription drugs over the next few years for themselves or their families.
  • Three-quarters (77%) reported taking a prescription drug on a regular basis, while one in five said they did not fill a doctor’s prescription in the past year, with cost being the primary reason cited for not filling a prescription.

Support for various policy proposals is very high across party lines, including:

  • Allowing Medicare to negotiate with drug companies for lower prices (87% favored).
  • Putting a cap on out-of-pocket costs that older adults pay for their prescription drugs under Medicare Part D (78% favored).
  • Preventing drug companies from charging more for drugs in the U.S. than they do elsewhere (77% favored).
  • Closing loopholes that allow drug companies to charge higher prices for copycats or minor improvements (74% favored).
  • Penalizing drug companies that raise their prices faster than inflation (71% favored).

In addition, 80% of respondents agreed that drug prices could be lowered without impacting innovation of new medicines.

AARP Public Policy Institute’s most recent Rx Price Watch report showed that retail prices for 260 widely used brand name prescription drugs increased more than twice as fast as general inflation in 2020 during the pandemic, rising 2.9% compared to an inflation rate of 1.3%. The average annual cost for one brand name medication used on a regular basis was over $6,600, more than $1,500 higher than in 2015.

AARP’s national survey included 1,605 registered voters age 50 and older and was conducted by phone from June 1 - 13, 2021. To view the full survey results, visit https://www.aarp.org/research/topics/health/info-2021/drug-prices-older-americans-concerns/.

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About AARP
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.

For further information: Madison Daniels, mdaniels@aarp.org, 202-531-9026, @AARPMedia