As 2005 comes to a close and the Medicare Part D prescription drug benefit begins Jan. 1, it’s a good time to reflect on where we have come in the fight to make the cost of prescription drugs more affordable. First, we now have prescription drug coverage in Medicare under Part D, and while the legislation that created this benefit is not perfect, it’s a good first step to offering more Americans an affordable option for covering the cost of their prescription drugs.
And in view of recent events in Arizona regarding a pending court battle to force drug companies to change their pricing practices, AARP will also continue its all-out assault in 2006 against the soaring costs of prescriptions through our education, advocacy and litigation efforts.
AARP supports the right for the federal government to negotiate drug prices for those in Medicare. We are actively pushing for the passage of the Dorgan-Snow bill – legislation that would allow for the safe, legal importation of prescription drugs from Canada and other approved countries. AARP is working for faster U.S. Food and Drug Administration approval for generic drugs, which are an effective low cost option for consumers. And, we are seeking greater accountability for added price markups of prescription drugs that occur on their way from the manufacturer to the pharmacy. AARP wants greater accountability for these added price markups.
Our education efforts include ‘Evidence-Based Research’ – a consumer resource that is available on our website, which helps consumers compare the effectiveness of the cost of similar drugs to treat medical conditions. We also release our quarterly AARP Watchdog Report, which presents drug pricing information and helps consumers understand the facts behind the cost of their prescriptions.
AARP believes that making prescription drugs more affordable for everyone is one of the most important steps we can take to improve health care. And as we begin a new year, AARP will continue to work to make that happen.
AARP Arizona State Director